Every once in a while, the tech industry raises its voice and warns the U.S. government that it is not investing enough in the education of the next generation of scientists.
The note comes from Microsoft's general counsel executive vice president Brad Smith, signalling that technology companies are seeing a considerable shortage of workers. Smith suggested that the $500 million per year investment could be raised by adding 20,000 high-skill immigration H-1B visas for workers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to the already existing 85,000 visas and charge $10,000 for each of them. The visas currently run for $2,800. Additionally, the government could monetize 15,000 unused green cards per year with a fee of $15,000 each.
Smith stressed that the education improvement is necessary because the U.S. would be falling behind other nations. Such claims are not new and are often expressed by tech giants, including Intel. While these companies typically sponsor education programs themselves and run science fairs with incentives for kids and teenagers to begin a science career, they also noticed a trend in which other nations are creating greater numbers of skilled workers than the U.S. For example, it is believed that China surpassed the U.S. in PhD graduates per year in 2010 and graduated more than three times the number of four-year degrees in science fields in the same year.