We alone are no longer number one. To stay number one, we need to recruit from other countries and our policies are now making this more difficult, if not impossible. We are not growing all that we need internally.
In the competition for global talent the U.S. has long been number one. But our lead is gradually starting to slip as U.S. immigration policy becomes more restrictive and other countries make bold moves to attract more of the world’s most skilled workers away from us.
We in the U.S. has long been the top destination for skilled migrants, historically receiving a third of the global total. Many of the best and brightest come to study at U.S. colleges and universities. The number of international students in the U.S. reached an all-time high last year, with over half of them pursuing degrees in so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Those who study here are more likely to stay here after graduation, especially advanced-degree holders. Intention-to-stay rates among foreign Ph.D. graduates are 70% or higher in all STEM fields. Among those from China, intention-to-stay rates are 85% to 90%. And the U.S. economy reaps the benefits.
More than half of America’s billion-dollar start-ups, for example, have immigrant founders, including Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna, one of several biotech companies in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
We need to make sure we are bringing in the best of the best. But we truly need to be growing our own. But we seem to do a lot of talking about STEM, but little actual work of making this an emphasis in learning starting with K-8 and beyond.