TCP President and CEO, David Bonsick, joined other business leaders and community organizations on December 6 for a roundtable discussion focusing on the issue of Immigration reform. The program, led by U.S. Representative Charlie Dent (R-15th District), addressed the importance of immigration reform to Pennsylvania's economy, as well as the impact of the current legislative proposals being considered in Washington.
As the lone technology industry representative on the panel, Bonsick touted the need for quick Congressional action to ensure that the industry can fill the need for highly-skilled, technical workers. "Foreign-born workers are essential to filling the massive shortfall of skilled workers the industry needs today and in the future," stated Bonsick. "Without these graduates, we will come nowhere close to finding the number of science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") graduates our economy needs. Even if every American advanced-degree STEM graduate gets a job after graduation, we will still face a projected shortfall of more than 200,000 advanced-degree STEM jobs by 2018 that we can't fill," he continued. "The need for Congressional action on immigration reform is immediate and it is imperative."
Also participating on the panel were representatives from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the construction industry, and the agriculture industry. As of the end of 2013, the United States Senate had passed a comprehensive immigration reform package that included provisions of importance to the nation's technology industry. The House of Representatives, however, was still considering a series of separate bills that would address different aspects of immigration reform.