Posted by Angela Hey, Mountain View Voice Blogger, on Jan 25, 2013 at 4:08 pm Angela Hey is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
@Jen companies will look to the most productive, not necessarily lowest cost, labor to do the job. By training people early in life in STEM subjects the US has a chance to have the most productive labor on the planet. I was reminded at an SVForum meeting last week that the most productive engineers can be at least 10 times more productive than the least productive (Web Link) and the most productive teams maybe 100 times more productive than the individual programmers. So if the US can create highly productive teams then competition from lower cost overseas teams lessens. Productivity, not labor cost, is key.
Posted by Angela Hey, Mountain View Voice Blogger, on Jan 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm Angela Hey is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
I wrote in the article "Reenu Lodha, a recent MBA, from the University of Florida, has joined Maykah to handle marketing. Reenu notes that, whereas Florida has professors with great connections, it lacks the fast-moving Stanford environment that enables companies to launch quickly." I should not have said the University of Florida "lacks" the fast-moving environment.
She actually told me:
(a) The University of Florida has professors with great connections.
(b) The fast-moving Stanford environment enables companies to launch quickly.
Further she added "I am proud of University of Florida and I totally love it. It has taught me some of the best things in life. Professors are very inspiring and so is the University of Florida environment. The University is the pulse-point of the region's high-tech start-up activity. Needless to say - it is also the birthplace of one of the best brands- Gatorade!"
Posted by maguro_01, a resident of the Willowgate neighborhood, on Feb 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Ms Hey - Your ideas about STEM and education are good but for one consideration. An American student may study and get a first job out of, say, Computer Science, but they won't get any sort of career path out of it. These days no US engineer starting out should think they have a career path, can raise a family, and so on, being an engineer, programmer, or possibly most STEM programs. Even a science PhD these days seldom knows if he or she will be able to have a career until they are as old as 40. That last may possibly be because of an oversupply of science PhD's. The reality is that STEM occupations are a labor market like any other and subject to those economics.
Brain-draining the world is a privilege and clearly gains us excellent colleagues and good neighbors. It's plausible that it can add a great deal to the US economy and enterprise in general. But the sheer numbers involved tell us that most visa workers have been actually average (H1-B EB-3 category). Naturally that has depressed the local labor market for engineers and programmers. In the past, visa workers had to get a work visa through an employer, then the same employer had to apply for any Green Card. In the years between those two milestones the worker was effectively indentured. Whether such workers were low-balled or not, they have been salaried and many I know have been required to work extended hours as we all chose to do for a startup.
Programs where Green Cards can go with an advanced degree are an improvement as the effective indenture feature would be gone (as long as commercial diploma mills don't take advantage). The problem with any such programs remains our Pay-To-Play political financing system in Washington. The H1-B programs had features stuck in them, purchased by corporations for their advantage and the gross disadvantage of the workers and the context of tech work in the US. The indenture feature was one. They also bought tax breaks that helped them to move offshore artificially. I believe they also export quite a bit of IP generated here at taxpayer expense. I don't doubt the corporations are hard at work in Washington to slip things into any new immigration legislation.
There is no question that US workers, most certainly including STEM occupations, have to get up early in the morning and compete with the world. Further, business expenses in the Valley are not competitive and it's too used to it. It may be hard for the Valley to catch the next wave or the one after, whatever they may be.
Corporations will not repeal any principles of economics by driving citizens and GC holders in the US out of STEM occupations or driving down the local supply. It is not in the interest of the US that they do so but that consideration has no necessary effect Pay-To-Play Washington. If better US students avoid CS, say, the corporations will weep and wail in Washington that we have to "educate" Americans, suddenly Dodo's, but meanwhile up the number of visa workers, who by the way, are indentured. That can only cause a downward spiral in the generation of US STEM workers, a really bad idea.
By all means brain-drain the world, but in ways beneficial to the US and the new people, not multinational corporations who don't even see their main future in the US any more.