Technology Activist Pans the Myth that Americans Can't Cut-it in Technology

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Techology employers claim H-1B technology workers are smarter and more qualified than their domestic counterparts, but a new study debunks this myth. This study shows that 87% of the job openings that are filled under this program are for entry-level positions or require only a "good understanding of the occupation." Donna Conroy, a veteran campaigner to reform H-1B, offers her comments on the new report, ''Low Salaries for Low Skills: Wages and Skill Levels for H-1B Computer Workers, 2005,'' by John Miano and the Center for Immigration Studies.

"The myth that H-1B technology workers are smarter and more qualified than their domestic counterparts is given its most definitive exposure in a study unveiled today at the National Press Club," says Donna Conroy, director of brightfuturejobs.org and a former technical professional. Conroy has been lobbying against expanding the H-1B visa hiring program for several years.

The new report, ''Low Salaries for Low Skills: Wages and Skill Levels for H-1B Computer Workers, 2005,'' by John Miano and the Center for Immigration Studies shows that 87% of the job openings that are filled under this program are for entry-level positions or require only a "good understanding of the occupation."

According to this report, applicants whom employers defined as possessing entry-level skills filled 56% of the 2005 H-1B job openings. "Technology firms are propagating the myth that citizens from abroad are "the best and the brightest" in science and technology, encouraging Americans to conclude that the US workforce is incompetent and incapable. This is self-loathing talk at its worse! It hides that fact that these same employers can legally bypass the US workforce for these job openings."

Brightfuturejobs.org is lobbying to pass the Senate H-1B reform bill, introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) last month. It would require employers to seek local talent so that Americans and legal residents can compete for these entry-level and skilled job openings in Information Technology (IT).

"It is ghastly," Conroy exclaimed, "that such a self-destructive system of discrimination has been passed by Congress, so soon after the civil rights era."

"We are confronted by want ads that call for H-1B's only or openly state that they prefer H-1B's. We took these want ads to Capitol Hill, pleading with lawmakers to reform this program and allow the US workforce to compete for these job openings. Senator Durbin responded, in part because he saw so many entry-level positions in these want ads -- with free training provided. The reform proposal recognizes the fact that millions of Americans obviously qualify for entry-level positions with free training. However, under the current H-1B program, employers aren't required to seek local talent." The Durbin-Grassley reform bill would outlaw such want ads and require employers to advertise the job opening for 30 days on the Department of Labor's web site.

"20 years ago, when there was a labor shortage in the technology industry, technology firms routinely hired unqualified Americans and trained the hell out of them. Music and sociology majors were transformed into top-notch programmers. Now the only people who benefit from extensive training are H-1Bs."

Who We Are
Brightfuturejobs.org is a grassroots lobbying organization located in Chicago, Illinois. It is comprised of IT and other white-collar professionals whom have extensive experience in the arena of grassroots politics. It has been working to win for Americans - Black, White, Latino, Anglo, Native, or Immigrant - the chance to compete for technology jobs -- and counteracting the belief that Americans can't "do" science and technology.

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