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Outrage Over U.S. Plan To Train Offshore Workers

Many InformationWeek readers are against outsourcing; many are for it. But for once we seem to have found consensus on at least one aspect of this divisive issue-it's not something U.S. taxpayers should be funding.
Many InformationWeek readers are against outsourcing; many are for it. But for once we seem to have found consensus on at least one aspect of this divisive issue-it's not something U.S. taxpayers should be funding.On Tuesday I broke the truly astonishing news that USAID will contribute to a $36 million program to train students in South Asia to work in IT outsourcing, BPO, and other industries where employees will compete for jobs with American workers.

Since then, we've been flooded with feedback from a broad spectrum of readers-from Democrat to Republican and pro-business to pro-union-expressing outrage that a federal agency is providing free, hi-tech training to individuals bound for companies whose entire business model is built around luring IT work offshore.

Of all the comments, none is more representative of the broad distaste for this program than this, from NJ Mike:


"This is an absolute outrage. It is one thing for a company to outsource to another country because it saves money, but it is quite another for the US Government, using OUR TAXMONEY, to help them along."

And here's an awfully sane-sounding comment from a reader going by the name Wakjob:


"We're going broke and they're spending $22 million to train ANOTHER country's workforce. That's worse than the U.S. taxpayers bailing out the bankers!"

Others seemed most upset that USAID's "stimulus plan" for Sri Lanka, an island neighbor to outsourcing hotspot India, appears to run counter to President Obama's pledge to keep more hi-tech work on U.S. shores. From reader Forward2UR_CongressRATT:


"This is not the CHANGE I was looking for!!!! Same ol' BS!!! Just a different set of CLOWNS."

I'm still waiting to hear back from USAID. I've asked them to justify this program to the 440,000 IT professionals who read our print magazine each week, and to the millions more we reach through InformationWeek.com. When I find out more, I'll follow up with another story. In the meantime, let's hear more of what you think.