Promoting a Stronger STEM Workforce

Background and Highlights of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013
STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math


The Challenge: Not Enough People with Tech Skills and Computer Science Degrees

• There are insufficient numbers of U.S. students graduating with degrees in key STEM-related disciplines like computer science to meet U.S. workforce demands. This shortage needs to be addressed for the near- and long-term. This issue affects every U.S. industry, not just IT and software.

• Examples of shortcomings:

  • Only 40,000 bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science are awarded annually, but there are an estimated 120,000 new computing jobs each year requiring this degree (for 2010-2020).
  • Only 5% of U.S. high schools offer Advance Placement Computer Science classes.
  • Only 8% of U.S. college freshmen end up with degrees in STEM.
  • Only 9 states recognize computer science as part of their core high school curriculums.

• Skills shortages are threatening U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

The Solution: The Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act of 2013

• On January 29, 2013, a bipartisan group of four U.S. Senators—Chris Coons (D-Del.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)—introduced the I-Squared Act (S. 169). The legislation now has backing from many additional Democratic and Republican Senators.

• The I-Squared Act aligns STEM education and high-skilled immigration reform to address our nation’s talent shortage for the near- and long-term.

• Funds will be raised through modest fee increases on visas and green cards—which will help fill STEM jobs for the near-term—and allocated to the Promoting American Ingenuity Account, which will strengthen our future U.S. STEM pipeline. These funds will be disbursed to states to:

  • Strengthening STEM education, including computer science, at all levels;
  • Broaden access to computer science in high schools;
  • Assist students in STEM programs to complete college;
  • Improve the availability and access to STEM-related worker training programs.

NEXT STEPS: WHAT YOU CAN DO

• Write your lawmakers and encourage them to support the I-Squared Act. It’s easy to communicate with your legislators through the VFI Action Center.

• Tech community and small business support are vital to this effort! Please encourage your family, friends, and tech colleagues to learn more and support this issue as well. If you would like to do even more, such as meeting with your elected officials or writing your local newspaper, please let VFI know—and ask for assistance if you want. You can email us at info@voicesforinnovation.org.

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