This April 7, 2007 AP article "Back to class at Infosys" reveals how India is handling its shortage of tech workers: Rather than lobbying the Indian goverment for programs that would flood in foreign workers, the employers are spending a fortune to train their domestic workers.
Infosys, for example, spent $350 million on a 500,000-square-foot education complex campus, and will spend $140 million in 2007 alone.
While H-1b proponents allege that H-1b workers from India are the "best and brightest," this article reveals that most are poorly trained: "Indian schools churn out 400,000 new engineers every year, but as few as 100,000 are actually ready to join the job world, experts say."
We face a similar situation in the U.S. where tens of thousands of tech workers with proven records and at least BS degrees cannot find work. Microsoft and other employers summarily reject these applicants as "not a good match" because, for example, they have 5 years of experience in C++ rather than C# - or as subtle age discrimination.
The United States made Bill Gates the richest man in the world. It's time to give back. Rather than abusing your weath to lobby for "unlimited H-1b visas," why not spearhead a similar training complex for U.S. workers?
During the 1990s many U.S. tech companies viewed their workers as long-term investments and provided training to keep their skills current. But the H-1b program turned U.S. tech workers into short-term commodities. And until the flood of H-1b is stemmed, displaced U.S. workers cannot reenter the workforce by simply retraining themselves since employers require at least 1 to 5 years of verifiable on the job experience in specific technologies.
Congress should suspend the H-1b program until U.S. corporations show the same good faith investment in U.S. workers that Indian companies are giving their workers.
UPDATE: This July 31, 2006 article Infy hires in US, trains in India details how InfoSys runs a six month intensive training program that takes even liberal arts majors and within six months places them on software projects in the U.S. Why can't Microsoft, Google, and Oracle do the same?