More on the Foreign Student Labor Issue

To no one’s surprise, DHS’s Request for Public Comment on their new proposal regarding OPT is drawing tons of positive comments from foreign students, as a Computerworld article reports. There is also a related article in today’s New York Times.

There isn’t much in the Times article. On the contrary, though balanced in terms of space, the reporter (newly transferred to the immigration beat from the sports desk) seems to buy into the DHS claim that we “must” retain the foreign students — and indeed, attract them here in the first place — come hell or high water. Given my research and that of others regarding the overall lower quality of the foreign students, why the mad rush to grab them? Or better, why is there no push to give H-1B and green card priority to the top foreign students, as befits our national interest?

Ron Hira’s comments in the Computerworld piece are really quite good, deftly exposing DHS’ “internship” idea as a ruse.

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4 thoughts on “More on the Foreign Student Labor Issue

  1. > There is also a related article in today’s New York Times.

    I found something interesting in the New York Times article. A bit over half way through, the article states:

    In a letter supporting the Senate bill, 14 associations representing thousands of higher education institutions described an urgent need: “According to projections, the United States will face a shortfall of more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018,” the associations wrote.

    I checked the letter at https://www.aau.edu/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=15815 to find the source of the 200,000 number. It stated:

    According to projections, the United States will face a shortfall of more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018.

    I could find nothing in the letter describing the source beyond “projections”. I would seem that the “14 associations representing thousands of higher education institutions” have not learned the basics of sourcing your claims. In any case, I then went to google and searched for “more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018” (without the quotes) and found a number of references. A press release at http://smallbusiness.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=331551 gives its source as a report titled “Not Coming to America” at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/not-coming-to-america.pdf . It states the following:

    SHORTAGE OF WORKERS IN INNOVATION INDUSTRIES: Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM” fields) are increasing three times faster than jobs in the rest of the economy, but American students are not entering these innovative fields in sufficient numbers. As a result, by 2018, we face a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers.

    Again, this report gives no source but it does give the more precise number 230,000. Hence, I then googled for “230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers 2018” (without the quotes). I found articles at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stem-interest-declining-among-teens/ and http://www.capitolgrapevine.com/calendar/2015/10/1/lunch-briefing-stem-education which both contained the following identical line:

    “experts at the Partnership for a New American Economy project say that there will be a shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018.”

    An article at http://blogs.cisco.com/news/celebrating-stem-with-a-piece-of-pi points to “research” at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/not-coming-to-america-pr.pdf which is a release from PNAE (Partnership for a New American Economy) with no source.

    I did finally track down another PNAE study at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/stem-report.pdf . It states:

    Currently, the number of US students pursuing STEM fields is growing at less than one percent per year, and by 2018 there will be more than 230,000 advanced degree STEM jobs that will not be filled even if every single new American STEM grad finds a job.6

    A footnote! Surely that will give the source! Following is the footnote:

    6 McKinsey Global Institute, “An Economy that Works: Job Creation and America’s Future,” (June 2011), available at http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/MGI/Research/Labor_Markets/An_economy_that_works_for_US_job_creation
    Partnership for a New American Economy “Not Coming to America” (2012) available at
    http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/not-coming-to-america.pdf

    I checked the first link and found no reference to the number. I did find it at the second link but that is just another PNAE study which HAS NO SOURCE! Hence, it seems rather obvious that scores of “experts” are parroting this number without ever having seen anything that even looks like a valid source. If someone should know the source for the 230,000 number, please reply to this post.

    Like

  2. > There is also a related article in today’s New York Times.

    I found something interesting in the New York Times article. A bit over half way through, the article states:

    In a letter supporting the Senate bill, 14 associations representing thousands of higher education institutions described an urgent need: “According to projections, the United States will face a shortfall of more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018,” the associations wrote.

    I checked the letter at https://www.aau.edu/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=15815 to find the source of the 200,000 number. It stated:

    According to projections, the United States will face a shortfall of more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018.

    I could find nothing in the letter describing the source beyond “projections”. I would seem that the “14 associations representing thousands of higher education institutions” have not learned the basics of sourcing your claims. In any case, I then went to google and searched for “more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018” (without the quotes) and found a number of references. A press release at http://smallbusiness.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=331551 gives its source as a report titled “Not Coming to America” at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/not-coming-to-america.pdf . It states the following:

    SHORTAGE OF WORKERS IN INNOVATION INDUSTRIES: Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM” fields) are increasing three times faster than jobs in the rest of the economy, but American students are not entering these innovative fields in sufficient numbers. As a result, by 2018, we face a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers.

    Again, this report gives no source but it does give the more precise number 230,000. Hence, I then googled for “230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers 2018” (without the quotes). I found articles at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stem-interest-declining-among-teens/ and http://www.capitolgrapevine.com/calendar/2015/10/1/lunch-briefing-stem-education which both contained the following identical line:

    “experts at the Partnership for a New American Economy project say that there will be a shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018.”

    An article at http://blogs.cisco.com/news/celebrating-stem-with-a-piece-of-pi points to “research” at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/not-coming-to-america-pr.pdf which is a release from PNAE (Partnership for a New American Economy) with no source.

    I did finally track down another PNAE study at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/stem-report.pdf . It states:

    Currently, the number of US students pursuing STEM fields is growing at less than one percent per year, and by 2018 there will be more than 230,000 advanced degree STEM jobs that will not be filled even if every single new American STEM grad finds a job.6

    A footnote! Surely that will give the source! Following is the footnote:

    6 McKinsey Global Institute, “An Economy that Works: Job Creation and America’s Future,” (June 2011), available at http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/MGI/Research/Labor_Markets/An_economy_that_works_for_US_job_creation
    Partnership for a New American Economy “Not Coming to America” (2012) available at
    http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/not-coming-to-america.pdf

    I checked the first link and found no reference to the number. I did find it at the second link but that is just another PNAE study which HAS NO SOURCE! Hence, it seems rather obvious that scores of “experts” are parroting this number without ever having seen anything that even looks like a valid source. If someone should know the source for the 230,000 number please reply to this post.

    Like

    • I think that I found the source and I can see why PNAE did not go through any pains to quote it. In their document at http://www.nih.gov/about/impact/not-coming-to-america.pdf , they quote the number 230,000 in the Executive Summary. I believe this refers to Exhibit 1 on page 7 which states “BY 2018, THE US WILL FACE A PROJECTED SHORTFALL OF 223,800 STEM WORKERS”. I don’t know why they rounded it up to 230,000. In any case, this comes from a projected supply of 555,200 and demand of 779,000 projected for 2018. Following are the sources that they give for both of those numbers:

      SOURCE:
      1 Derived from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Department of Education, 2009.
      2 Help Wanted: A Projection of Jobs and their Education Requirements, The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce

      They both sound like pretty minor sources. For this reason and the fact that the numbers from the first source are “derived” would likely make it very difficult, if not impossible, to replicate and/or verify the numbers. It’s small wonder that they didn’t go through any pains to mention their sources. Better to just hold them in reserve in case someone insisted on seeing them. From all of the references to the 230,000 number that I’ve come across, it appears that nobody did insist on seeing the sources.

      Like

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