Competitive Workforce Act
Darryn A. Harris and Pisacha Wichianchan, The Purple Aisle
Background: The US faces a growing economic crisis from the talent shortage in high-demand industries. This labor shortage threatens national security by stifling our ability to compete in the global economy of the 21st century. There are 2.6M job openings in the US and 46% of US employers have a hard time filling jobs. At the same time, there is only a 40% acceptance rate for H1B visa applications.
Solution: The key to our nation's economic prosperity and business competitiveness lies in our ability to leverage our most valuable asset - the next generation of human capital. We propose the Competitive Workforce Act that allows companies to remain competitive today, and incentivizes them to invest in local, homegrown talent to meet the market needs of tomorrow.
The Act would increase the H1B cap from 85K to a number the market demands, based on the analysis of BLS, BEA, the Fed, or an equivalent. It would prohibit H1B workers from displacing native-born workers and increase H1B fees per application by the amount needed to fund the following programs: 1) Training for native workers to acquire the middle/high skill jobs in high demand industries. 2) STEM education. 3) A legal pathway for undocumented immigrants who meet qualifications (existing skills, current training for those high demand skills, or in a STEM program at an accredited institute of higher education) and with no felony records.
Advantages: The increase in H1B visas will address an immediate need, while the fees raised will allow NGOS and others with workforce development missions to apply for those funds. Long term, the Workforce Competitiveness Act will bridge the divide between the untapped potential of local talent and the business challenge of finding and keeping the best talent. It will decrease the narrative that "immigrants take our jobs" and will incentivize the private sector to invest in local talent.