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ITIF Debate: Is There a STEM Worker Shortage?

March 13, 2014
ITIF hosted a lively debate regarding the STEM worker shortage.
The issue of high skill immigration is receiving increased attention as Congress considers comprehensive immigration legislation. Underlying this issue is an ongoing debate surrounding the U.S. labor market for high-skill workers, including those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The key policy questions being discussed include: is there a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. economy; is the U.S. education system producing enough STEM graduates with requisite STEM education; and does high-skill immigration negatively affect the domestic supply of STEM talent?
ITIF will host a lively debate on this critical policy issue. Robert Atkinson, President of ITIF, and Jonathan Rothwell, an Associate Fellow at the Brookings Institution, will argue that the United States does face a STEM worker shortage, which is hampering the development of the innovation economy, and high-skill immigration should be used as a tool to address the skills gap. Hal Salzman, Professor of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and Ron Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, will counter that the country is not experiencing a STEM shortage, and increased immigration will simply exacerbate unemployment and hurt U.S. workers. The debate will be moderated by Kevin Finneran, editor of the National Academies' Issues in Science and Technology.

The issue of high skill immigration is receiving increased attention as Congress considers comprehensive immigration legislation. Underlying this issue is an ongoing debate surrounding the U.S. labor market for high-skill workers, including those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The key policy questions being discussed include: is there a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. economy; is the U.S. education system producing enough STEM graduates with requisite STEM education; and does high-skill immigration negatively affect the domestic supply of STEM talent?

ITIF will host a lively debate on this critical policy issue. Robert Atkinson, President of ITIF, and Jonathan Rothwell, an Associate Fellow at the Brookings Institution, will argue that the United States does face a STEM worker shortage, which is hampering the development of the innovation economy, and high-skill immigration should be used as a tool to address the skills gap. Hal Salzman, Professor of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and Ron Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, will counter that the country is not experiencing a STEM shortage, and increased immigration will simply exacerbate unemployment and hurt U.S. workers. The debate will be moderated by Kevin Finneran, editor of the National Academies' Issues in Science and Technology.

Read "The Real Story on Guestworkers in the High-skill U.S. Labor Market."