Committee on High-Tech Labor Releases Report

Posted: October 25, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

While skilled foreign workers can help relieve a tight high-tech labor market in the United States, cultivating adequately trained U.S. workers is a critical element as well, says a new congressionally mandated report from a committee of the National Academies’ National Research Council. President Alan Merten served as chair of this committee.

“As the U.S. economy comes to depend more heavily on information technology, the availability of skilled workers becomes increasingly important to the nation,” says Merten. “The labor market for these workers is unquestionably tight, and all sources of talent–both domestic and foreign–are needed to address this problem. Employers, employees, educational institutions, and the government all have important roles to play in assuring that the high-tech industry has the labor force necessary to compete in a global economy.”

The report focuses primarily on professional occupations in information technology, such as systems analysts, computer scientists, and programmers. It also calls upon the federal government to reduce the time it takes to grant green cards to foreigners, and to make H-IB visas more available to foreigners.

Regarding education, the report calls upon secondary schools to improve mathematics education so that high school graduates are better prepared to enter IT-related fields. Educators, the report says, should also be part of the effort to encourage women and minorities to pursue high-tech careers.

The report may be viewed in its entirety at the National Academies’ web site.


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