Diversity and inclusion have been a part of Cummins’ values for well over 50 years. We believe that attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. It’s about recognizing and valuing diverse perspectives to drive innovation and deliver superior results. It’s about having a workforce that reflects and understands the communities in which we operate around the world. It’s about solving problems faster and more creatively for our customers when we have different views brought to the table. Cummins, headquartered in Columbus, Indiana since 1919, is powering customers in more than 190 countries at more than 5,000 locations. Sensible and appropriate immigration laws are critical to recruiting top-tier global talent, achieving diversity, meeting workforce demands and maintaining a competitive advantage.
It is difficult to ignore that some government leaders are using immigration to divide us. As I write this article, Cummins and other companies are pushing back on anti-immigrant policies and urging Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. We are urging leaders of both political parties to enact bipartisan immigration reform that allows companies to fairly recruit and retain top global talent; provides a pathway to citizenship for current undocumented residents and adopts a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (a.k.a. Dreamers).
We need more flexibility in our visa and green card programs so that we can hire and retain the most talented employees where ever we find them. Purdue University in West Lafayette is one of the finest engineering schools in the U.S. Many of its graduates come to Cummins after completing their degrees. Approximately half of Purdue’s master’s degrees are granted to students born outside the U.S. As a technology leader developing the world’s most advanced engines and powertrains, we are often found on Purdue’s campus recruiting top engineers to help Cummins design future technologies and solve critical problems. Unless we have a modernized immigration system that fits the global economy, these talented students will go elsewhere.
This is not a theoretical discussion for us – about 6% of our total U.S. workforce are H-1B visa holders, of which the clear majority are engineers, and we also employ approximately 20-40 DACA beneficiaries.
Cummins will continue to do our part to advocate for reasonable immigration policies that allow us to compete in the global marketplace and meet our workforce and customer needs. A diverse workforce strengthens us as a business because it contributes to an atmosphere where creativity, innovation and ideas can flourish.
Marya Rose is the vice president and chief administrative officer of Cummins Inc and a speaker at Leading the Way: An American Approach to Immigration.