The future of the US economy may highly depend on its ability to grow and cultivate jobs in the STEM field. What is STEM? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and it represents the highest growing job fields in the U.S., with STEM jobs growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs.
However, while jobs are growing there is also a growing shortage of those available to fill the positions. There are a couple of solutions that could help address this problem and the Obama administration is investing millions of dollars to try to produce a million STEM undergrads by 2022. However, that does nothing to alleviate the current shortage and even after that effort there is still predicted to be a shortage of qualified applicants to fill those positions.
How Immigrants Could Help the United States Economy
It has long been debated that the U.S. needs to attract and retain global talent in order to stay competitive. Most of the foreigners who are looking to get or stay employed in STEM fields have been educated at U.S. colleges or universities and are just looking to continue to stay and work in the United States in their field of study. Backing up this notion is the statistic that foreigners are 18% more likely than American students to have studied in the STEM fields.
Allowing foreigners who have achieved higher education within the United States to be able to stay within the country would allow their valuable skills and talent to stay in the United States in our most needed areas. There is a misconception that when immigrants are employed in the U.S. in these fields that they are taking them away from U.S. citizens, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are there more open positions than U.S. citizens can fill, but studies have shown entrepreneurial start-ups are disproportionately founded and supported by foreign-born individuals. The creation of start-ups has resulted in more jobs available for U.S. citizens.
Even outside of start-ups, studies have shown that for every foreign-born student who graduates from and stays in the United States employed in a STEM field that an average of 2.62 jobs are created for U.S. born workers. This is usually attributed to the fact that the foreign-born worker helps lead innovation, research or development.