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5/20/2005
05:55 PM
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Letters To The Editor

Follow The Jobs

What are schools doing to keep students interested in math and science ("It's Time For IT To Get Off The Dime," May 9)? Quincy College has closed its computer-science program, because students are looking at the market and seeing no jobs out there, so they aren't enrolling.

Your suggested action (stop complaining and do something about it) seems to indicate that no matter how bad the market gets, people will continue to learn programming and be interested in math and sciences. People go where the jobs are, and right now people like me are advising their children to focus on professions where you have to keep your hands on people (like medicine, law, and government) and stay away from any profession that can be done remotely.

Jack B. Garvey
Plymouth, Mass.


H-1B Worker Speaks Up

The H-1B program has been in the news constantly in the last few years ("Opposing Views," May 9). I've seen many comments against it, a few in favor of it, but I've never seen a comment by an actual H-1B holder.

Yes, there's a talent shortage and a shortage of opportunities, but the shortage of opportunities doesn't happen to Americans. It happens to H-1B workers.

I'm an IT employee working under the H-1B program. I came to the United States in 2001 with a six-year engineering degree and several years of industry experience. I've been working for a small firm at a competitive salary. Did you know that H-1B spouses aren't authorized to work or study? Or that the Social Security tax I pay will be lost if I don't become a permanent resident? If I leave, I'll be penalized on my 401(k) plan for early withdrawal. H-1B workers have the same duties as residents but pay higher taxes and have far fewer rights.

Unfortunately, there are no votes to mine among H-1B workers, nor campaign money to raise. Therefore, H-1B workers, highly skilled workers, will continue to be second-class residents.

Juan B. Gutierrez Senior Programmer/Analyst
Information Systems of Florida
Tallahassee, Fla.


Living Standard In Jeopardy

It's not that Microsoft can't find talent in the United States--the problem is that it can't find highly profitable (i.e., inexpensive) talent in the United States ("Future Is What You Make It," May 2).

Mr. Gates asks for more investment in education but won't pay his employees enough to make that investment. And even if he does, there's no guarantee that they will. Mistakes on both sides.

Let's face it, there's more investment going to other countries than in the United States. And it's paying (or is expected to pay) better returns, or it would have stopped long ago.

It's too bad Mr. Gates, his company, and the United States can't see that eliminating H-1B visa caps is simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of a falling standard of living, particularly for the disappearing middle class.

Toby Meehan
Milwaukee


Opportunities Lost

I live in a suburb of New York that was once a center of engineering and technology excellence. Northrop Grumman (formerly Grumman Corp.) put a man on the moon and employed 55,000 engineers during the lunar excursion module project. It currently employs 2,600, reflecting the decline of engineering opportunities in this part of the country.

Although I have a BSEE, an MSCS, and more than 20 years of experience, I was forced to return to teaching physics or relocate. I'm aware of many engineers who are in my position.

John Manzella
Long Island, N.Y.


Don't Blame Education

Hiring? Microsoft? Please point them in my direction as quickly as possible!

Please don't tell me about the math/ science-phobic K-12 system. There are plenty of kids (75 of whom I've been mentoring for the past two years) who'd welcome the chance to work for Microsoft, Apple, CSC, SAIC, et al. So would I. Just give us a chance!

Ken Jinks Lead Project Analyst-Engineer
LabCorp Client Products Group
Huntsville, Ala.


Look To Government

I don't agree that IT is no longer a good career field. IT needs good people, especially in the federal government. The feds need to get to high school seniors and colleges and let them know that government isn't a bad place to work. They can obtain experience they'll never get in private industry when it comes to project management and responsibility. Usually, a young IT manager will get a project from cradle to grave, with all its ups and downs.

Barney Brady
Los Alamitos, Calif


Protect U.S. Jobs

The cap on H-1B visas shouldn't be lifted, it should be lowered, and the L-1 visa program that also allows foreign workers into the United States to hold jobs should be severely cut or changed so that it's more expensive to hire foreign labor than to hire U.S. citizens.

I don't recommend IT as a viable career any longer. Why hire someone in the United States that would be expensive when you can import someone from overseas and pay them less?

The provisions in the visa program concerning paying the prevailing wage are simply a low hurdle for employers to sail over. Most companies set the bar so high for open positions that there are few people that can fill them

Mark Janowski
Countryside, Ill.


No Risk, No Gain

As one of the people behind the scenes who has nurtured the UPMC/ IBM deal along for the last 20 months, I smiled as I read Bob Evans' comments ("The Real Impact Of The IBM-UPMC Deal," May 2). He really summarized the essence of what we're doing.

You can't do something like this halfway. You have to go aggressively, take risks, and have the resolve and trust in your partner to build the future.

I tell people when they're asking for guarantees that the pioneers didn't have road maps, they made them. They made them through a shared vision, trust in each other, and the resolve to work through the inevitable obstacles to drive to reach the goal. That's what we're setting out to do with IBM.

Paul Sikora Director, Production Services
UPMC
Pittsburgh


Unix Leads In 64 Bit

The Unix world has used 64-bit computing for years, and our company has been using true 64-bit computing on the Mac platform as of last month ("Gates' 64-Bit Pitch," April 25). Bill Gates is effectively several years behind the rest of the world in 64-bit computing.

Mark Austin Director
EACOM
Houston


Correction

In "New Language Cuts Coding," Lawson Software executive VP of development Dean Hager's name was misspelled (May 16).

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