The United States faces a serious threat to its leadership in the global economy: a skills and talent deficit. American companies urgently need professionals trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, but there are not enough workers with the necessary skills and too few Americans earn post-secondary STEM credentials. As a result, employers are often unable to fill high-skilled domestic jobs with high-skilled American workers. Further, there is a crisis brewing for the next generation – a growing gap between the few young people prospering and those left behind because they lack the education, skills and opportunities to succeed.
As they look to rebuild the economy, employers and policymakers face the same questions: How to foster a better, more forward-looking education system for students so the next generation will have the skills they need to compete? What policy changes are necessary, in areas such as education and immigration, for real impact on the future workforce? How should employers, educators and reform-minded policymakers spark and lead this change.
On September 27, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a forum on STEM education and immigration reforms and how these policy innovations can recharge American competitiveness and economic opportunity for current and future generations of workers. Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel of Microsoft, delivered keynote remarks. Moderated by Vice President Darrell West, a panel of experts discussed policy changes in education, immigration, among a variety of other areas, to enhance the American workforce’s competitiveness in a global economy.
After the program, speakers took audience questions.