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November 18, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Allows students to develop skills both in and out of STEM fields
Lynne K. Varner illustrated the need for improved STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in her recent column [“Better STEM education, training needed for mismatched workers,” Opinion, Nov. 15].
But I do not fully agree with her reasoning. We do not need our schools to become STEM education factories, providing an assembly line of students to fill jobs. We need to provide students with comprehensive educational opportunities that allow them to develop a wide variety of skills, both in and out of the STEM fields.
May 13, 2013 at 6:32 AM
Large technology companies are greedy
It depends on what qualifications you’re talking about. There are plenty of technically qualified people here in Western Washington and around the country who are whiz-bangs at what they do, who have been laid off from full-time jobs with benefits and then hired back as contractors for half the wage that their education and technical chops deserve [“Do visas for skilled foreigners shut out U.S. tech workers?” page one, May 5].
There are plenty of technical whiz-bangs who were laid off and are now working part-time. All of them, according to The Seattle Times article, have applied to hundreds of jobs at Microsoft.
But Microsoft does not want to hire Americans — who have the legal right to live and work in their own country and expect not only an appropriate wage, but respectful treatment, and will walk if they don’t get it. Microsoft wants to stock its company with low-pay, desperate-for-a-job slave labor.
Information Week, InfoWorld and Computerworld are well-respected technical journals whose reporters, like those from The Seattle Times, have done a good job of reporting on the Microsoft lies. But the most telling rebuttal of the “We can’t find Americans” lie comes from a pirated video taken at a meeting of companies dedicated to the H-1B story arc, teaching them how to craft job ads that are unfillable and otherwise lie and cheat their way to gutting this nation of its prosperity by depriving the highly educated and completely employable of their dues. Visit the Programmers Guild to be disgusted by this blatant greed.
Victoria Leo, Federal Way
May 10, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Competition, not citizenship, drives tech industries
It is tough to pinpoint whether companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Google bring in people with H-1B visas with the intention of getting the same quality of work for cheaper wages as they would get from a US. college graduate [“Do visas for skilled foreigners shut out U.S. tech workers?” page one, May 5].
Shouldn’t the most qualified person for the job get it? I do think this industry specifically requires its workers to be highly adaptable because technology is always changing and the brightest individuals who will bring new innovations to a company are the most valuable.
While many U.S. graduates are having a tough time finding a career in this industry with degrees that fulfill the qualifications, I do not think the issue of foreign workers shutting out U.S. graduates is accurate.
These major companies know what they are looking for in new hires regardless of citizenship. Competition is what drives this industry forward, and if the jobs are just handed to an individual based on citizenship, there would be no room for growth or new ideas.
Kyle Andrew Stricker, Renton
May 2, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Prepare students to lead in evolving energy economy
Let’s put an even sharper point on the fact that our state needs more university degrees per capita [“Misperceptions stymie lawmakers on budgeting for college tuition,” Opinion, April 30]. Anyone who has traveled or worked abroad can readily see that the United States lags far behind much of the world when it comes to developing a clean-energy economy.
In order for our children and grandchildren to thrive, we must create the infrastructure to prepare university graduates to be managers and leaders in the evolving energy economy. Western Washington University’s Institute for Energy Studies is perfectly poised to do just that. It is one of the wisest investments our state-elected officials can make.
Roberta Riley, Seattle
April 29, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Need for STEM graduates is indisputable
The Economic Policy Institute study presents a picture of America’s STEM-worker shortage and STEM-education crisis that is vastly different from authoritative research on this topic [“Study: Shortage of U.S. STEM graduates a myth,” Business, April 25].
Most researchers agree there are not enough qualified workers to fill currently vacant American jobs or the jobs the nation is expected to add in the future that require experts like computer scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
One flaw is that the study uses the category of “information science,” which includes librarians, social scientists and other professions that artificially inflate the pool of STEM workers.
The reality is the U.S. economy will produce about 120,000 computer-science jobs annually through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, we only produce 40,000 bachelor’s degrees in that field each year.
After graduation, 43 percent of STEM graduates do not work in STEM fields. Furthermore, 46 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree in STEM will leave their field after two years in the workforce, according to a Georgetown University study.
The need for more graduates in STEM fields is indisputable. Any look at the facts shows our nation needs to invest in and improve STEM education if we are to compete globally, now and in the future.
Beneva Schulte, executive director, inSPIRE STEM USA, Chevy Chase, Md.
March 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM
Science education should start earlier
Here we go again. Time and again, Bill Gates and his ilk look to high schools and colleges to bring up student achievement in math and science [“Science, math education backers find friends in U.S. Capitol,” NWWednesday, March 20]. Yet, since the state doesn’t test students in science until eighth grade, most students don’t get any science education until they hit middle school.
Other countries begin science education early, giving their students a head start over ours. I realize that many elementary school teachers are not comfortable with science, but we have music and physical-education specialists in the schools.
It is high time we put our money where our mouths are and put science-education specialists in the elementary schools.
–Linda Hill, Bothell
March 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Thriving tech businesses should invest in state students
Today’s opinion piece by Susan Sigl and Bryan Mistele ended with the sentence, “The answer should be clear” [“Tech industry tax incentives should be extended,” Opinion, March 1]. The answer could be clear if the correct question were asked: “If the tech industry is as successful as they say they are due to past incentives, and they need our students to be better-educated, why are they seeking to retain incentives now that their businesses are thriving?”
The phrase “pay it forward” has become popular recently. How about some good old-fashioned “pay it back” from those established businesses in the tech industry? Companies that have become successful due to past incentives should pay the state back for those previously received incentives by letting go of them.
This is a clear answer to the problem of fully funding education for all state students, including those studying STEM subjects.
–Marcia Stedman, Bothell
Tax incentives should not go to established companies
It seem to me tax incentives should be for startups or struggling innovative companies.
I wish someone would look at Microsoft and other large, very profitable tech companies and simply list the recent profits and the tax breaks they will receive if these incentives are continued and then look at the need for education funding.
How can these companies continually lament the lack of skilled workers while avoiding paying taxes that help fund education? Am I missing something? Please enlighten us.
–Sherry Taylor, Seattle
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