Is There a STEM Worker Shortage?: ITIF, EPI, Rutgers, Co-Hosted Debate

Date: March 12, 2014

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

National Academy of Sciences Keck Building
500 Fifth St., N.W. (208)
Washington, DC 20001


Is There a STEM Worker Shortage? Are more graduates and guestworkers needed? The ongoing debate about these issues, and Congressional high-skill immigration proposals will be discussed at the National Academies of Science by some of the key researchers and policy analysts examining these issues.

As Congress considers comprehensive immigration legislation, little attention has been focused upon the labor market impacts of the STEM guestworker and STEM green card provisions of the bills. 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 how does high-skill immigration impact the STEM labor market the domestic supply of STEM talent?

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), EPI, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, and Issues in Science and Technology, will co-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 faces 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 co-author of a report on guestworkers in IT and a recent Issues in Science and Technology article on STEM shortages, and Ron Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology and EPI research associate, will counter that the country is not experiencing a STEM shortage, and that sharply increasing the number of temporary foreign workers in STEM fields and making an unlimited number of green cards available for STEM grads without evidence of a labor market need will impact wage growth and employment and discourage young people from entering STEM fields. The debate will be moderated by Kevin Finneran, editor of the National Academies’ Issues in Science and Technology.

The event is free, open to the public and complies with ethics rules.  Please register here.