Immigration Changes, Visas, and Blue Collar IT

In the United States, those who choose to enter the workforce after high school can find jobs performing manual labor or in the service industry making under $10 per hour for under a $20,000 annual salary. For those who choose to go into debt for $100,000 (or more) to obtain a college degree, they can get a professional job, doubling that income when they enter the workforce. This allows the degreed people to start paying back the loans they took out to get a degree, but the monthly loan payments will be equivalent to making a house payment and takes about as long to pay off. There needs to be an approach to train people entering the workforce, make a living wage, and not go into the debt required to get a degree, very much like we used to do for manufacturing jobs of the 20th century. The United States needs this alternative for business and for the American people; this is evident by the recent actions of President Obama.

This past week, President Obama offered changes to outdated immigration practices that the United States Government leadership has not tended to over the last several years. Part of the announcement eases the red tape employers have to go through to obtain work visas, increases the number of work visas, and provides green cards to people around the world who achieve advanced science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees from accredited American universities. Additionally, the announcement suggests that there will be additional allowance for startup and investor visas.

This is a great step forward for businesses in the United States. It will boost the economy and greatly help the one percent stakeholders in the American Dream to achieve even greater wealth. I also believe it does not help stimulate the US economy owned and operated by the other ninety nine percent of Americans and does nothing to further the American dream for most of us. That is where I believe growth through mentorship and on-the-job training will provide a great deal of value and fix some of the problems in our current education system.

Blue Collar IT provides an approach to educating those that are not going to obtain a college degree immediately after completing their primary education. Instead, those people enter a craftsman type IT job that provide on-the-job training and assignment to a mentor to help accelerate skills acquisition. It provides business with a competent workforce that can complete specific tasks that are IT related and needed in business today.

The approach I am taking is to grow the personal skills needed in my new hires for them to manage their lives. I introduce them into the workforce by digitizing graphic or verbal content and teach them how businesses operate and are segmented. As their skills and experience progress, and as they gain skills in the language of business, I have them shadow me in meetings and finally participate in meetings. Next, we focus skills acquisition on very narrow technology areas that are interesting and achievable for them. For some, that may be designing a web page and working on user experience, for others it might be simple coding projects in somewhat narrow areas such as an authentication snippet of code for a larger web portal project.

Would love to hear your thoughts on whether this can work broadly inside the US and around the world.