Here’s a puzzle: High-tech U.S. businesses say they have 300,000 job vacancies but can’t find science-savvy American workers to fill them. They asked Congress to raise the ceiling on H-1B visas for special-skills workers so that 200,000 well-educated aliens can arrive each year. (Some U.S. labor unions say this is a ploy to obtain foreign specialists who work for less.)
We assume that the unfilled vacancies are real — during a time when millions of Americans are looking for work — and they’re a sad reflection on America’s education system, which can’t produce enough intelligent young people with science training.
STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — is a buzzword for the type of education needed by modern societies to continue advancing. America’s lack is ominous.
Around one-fourth of U.S. teens drop out of high school, many flounder in drug problems, and graduates are woefully unprepared for jobs requiring mental abilities. America is falling behind other modern democracies in such training — and West Virginia trails the U.S. average. …
This is dismal. The new “information age” requires workers with keen knowledge, and multitudes of young Americans aren’t qualified to participate.
West Virginia public schools and colleges are striving to boost STEM training. For example, West Virginia State University holds a NASA rocketry day and operates a summer science camp whetting teen interest in math, robotics, physics, biology, chemistry and other core fields.
All parents should prod their children to become interested in high-tech learning that is the key to success in the rapidly changing world.
— Distributed by The Associated Press