TODAY: Experts to Discuss How Immigrants Can Fill America’s Skills Gaps

Communications Associate

October 23, 2015

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Today the American Action Forum is releasing a new report on how immigrants are crucial to filling skills gaps.

The report will be the central focus of an event this afternoon in Silicon Valley.

The new findings show that by 2020, the United States and Silicon Valley will face a shortage of private-sector workers across different skill levels, exacerbated by our broken immigration system. Specifically, “The U.S. will face a labor force shortage of 7.5 million private sector workers in 2020. If the growth rate of immigrant workers increases by 25 percent across all skill levels then the labor shortage would decrease to 6.4 million.”

The report includes policy recommendations for a multipronged approach to meet employer demands for talent.

The National Immigration Forum and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation are also participating in the event, which will include a presentation of the findings and a discussion by business, education and workforce leaders in the Silicon Valley to outline potential solutions.

The following are quotes from speakers at today’s event:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum:

“America needs skilled labor for the future, and immigrants are part of the solution. They bring skills as they migrate and have the opportunity to upgrade them after arrival. Our research examines these dynamics.”

Lionel de Maine, Director, Sequoia District Adult School, ALLIES Network Member:

“There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. The same idea holds for workforce development today — it takes a collaborative of vested stakeholders to train workers to succeed in the workforce.”

Navin Moul, Program Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation:

“Immigrants in Silicon Valley can contribute to the prosperity and quality of life of our communities. Supporting access to English language learning opportunities and legal services can position immigrants as assets and help alleviate gaps in the labor industry.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“This report and discussion come at a critical time. We’re hearing employers talk about the increasing skills gap, and we’re seeing immigrants become more and more important to our nation’s growth. Immigrants are an important source of talent, and we need to work together as employers, educators and workforce providers to ensure that we’re preparing a pipeline of workers who are ready to meet our country’s economic needs.”

Derrick Seaver, Vice President of Public Policy, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce:

“Our companies express to us all the time that 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants. For many of these companies based and operated in Silicon Valley, having a skilled workforce, which includes immigrants, is critical to compete on an international scale.”