This is a guest post from Mrs. 20′s. After months of urging her to start her own blog, she decided to test the waters with this guest post. Be sure to let her know what you think.
If you are like me, you frequently hear complaints and critiques about our country’s lack of jobs. What most people don’t know is that there are TONS of jobs but those jobs aren’t filled by American workers. Why? Because there aren’t enough highly skilled American workers. In about the last 30 years, over 25 million high-skilled jobs were filled by foreign workers that could not be filled by Americans.
Why Our Education System is Ruining Our Economy
Many people say that there are enough qualified workers here in the USA and that corporations only bring over foreign workers because they can pay them less. Although this factor could be a slight contributor, I know in many instances that it is completely not true. To tell you the truth, American students are not graduating with the skills that they need to compete in this economy. The job growth around the world is occurring in the high tech arena, and American students are not up to speed. To illustrate my point, on an international test meant to measure students’ abilities in reading, math, and science, the USA used to be #1. Now, we are ranked 17th in science and 25th in math. In this new age of technological innovation, this is going to cost our economy! (I know this information because I am part of a task force that brings together business, non-profit, education, and government leaders in my state to build the pipeline of workers for these highly-skills jobs.)
Now, if you still don’t believe me, I will illustrate my point. I work for an educational non-profit. We partner with corporations (many high tech and pharmaceutical companies) so that their employees can come into our schools and teach mini-elective courses to our students. Out of one of the largest tech companies (with 130,000 employees) that we work with, at least 80% of the employees that I come in contact with are from India, working in the USA on an H-B1 visa. Not only this, but I frequently come in contact with the VP of Sustainability for this particular corporation, and he is extremely concerned about the American pipeline of workers for this industry. Because of this, the organization contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to educational non-profits and institutions who focus on science, technology, and engineering education, so that they can build the pipeline of American highly-skilled engineers and tech professionals.
We Need to Fix Our Education System First
Therefore, if we are ever going to fix our economy, we NEED to fix our education system. In order for us to not have the high unemployment in our country that we do have, we need to make sure that American students are prepared to take on the challenges of the new high-tech economy. American students need to spend more time learning science, technology, and engineering, and they need to learn it from more than a book. They need to learn it through innovating, creating, and inventing. I believe that this is the only way that we will be able to fill American jobs with American workers and to create new jobs.
What do you think? How can we fix our economy?