New Coalition Aims to Address STEM Skills Gap through Immigration Reform, Education Funding
The New England Council recently joined inSPIRE STEM USA, a coalition of businesses and organizations dedicated to promoting legislative action that addresses STEM immigration and education reform. The bipartisan coalition is co-chaired by former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu and national immigration reform advocate Maria Cardona, a former advisor to both President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The goal of inSPIRE STEM USA (Supporting Productive Immigration Reform and Education) is twofold:
First, the coalition seeks to address the short-terms shortage of STEM workers in the US by increasing the caps on both temporary H1B visas and permanent green cards for STEM graduates.
And second, inSPIRE STEM USA hopes to address the longer-term shortage of such high-skilled workers by supporting funding for STEM education so that the US can develop a domestic STEM workforce.
The coalition strongly supports the Immigration Innovation Act (S.169)(summary here), sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DL). Also known as the I-squared bill, the legislation seeks to increase the caps on both H1B visas and STEM greencards, and allocates the fees collected from them to support STEM education programs. The coalition is actively advocating that the provisions in the I-squared bill be incorporated into any comprehensive immigration reform plan that moves forward. New England Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).