back to article With H-1B workers not exactly rushing to America this year, Uncle Sam plans to spend millions home-growing IT staff

The US Department of Labor (DoL) is offering $150m to train up unemployed Americans in IT and cyber-security in an effort to plug the skills gap caused by the Trump administration’s work visa clampdown. The H-1B One Workforce Grant Program will give up to 30 grants to training organizations to upskill US citizens for “middle …

  1. eldel

    <q>The largest recipients of those visas are tech companies and outsourcers bringing in foreigners with high-end computer skills<\q>

    High end my sorry ass. Basic skills and paid Indian level wages while being shopped out at US level wages plus profit margin. Being an ex-H1B myself I know what it's like if it's done properly - I also see what a significant proportion of the current "crop" is capable of. The good ones are very good and a joy to work with. The majority are subtraction by addition but the bean counters don't care because they fill the gap in the HR spreadsheet.

    1. Sparkus Bronze badge

      Last week I watched from a safe distance as three goofs from Tata and an outsourced corporate help desk brought down a certain Ag company's worldwide networks for 90+ hours. The 'fix' was to dispatch a human engineer with a serial comms capable laptop, cisco terminal cables, and some PuTTY knowledge. Each major site and gateway required human intervention to reconfigure gateway equipment so that the gear could be remoted into and reset to needed configs that allowed for more competent remote management and final config.

      Yup, the goofs managed to wipe not only the primary config, but the backup **and** the locally cached out of band emergency channels. And they did it to every conceivable gateway and network node. >275 of them.

      Not my company, but one that I do a lot of business with. And this is not quite the worst of the follies I've seen fly by in the 18 months Tata has 'owed' this particular help desk.

      1. Blank Reg Silver badge

        That's some epic level of incompetence. Do they get special training for that?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          That's some epic level of incompetence. Do they get special training for that?

          Sometimes it's depressingly easy. So Cisco's configbreaker. Allows automagic rollout of router configs, including bad ones. Or it just didn't work, in which case it was back to field engineers with console cables. I've always recommened off-line config editing with archiving so configs can be checked if necessary before being pushed to routers.. With checks that OOB works before and after committing.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Only if they went to a US university.

          1. fredesmite2

            Does a Trump Univ completion certificate work ?I

      2. fredesmite2
        Mushroom

        But think how much money they saved by not paying social-security ,and state employment taxes !!

      3. fredesmite2

        yeah

        but think of how much money they saved with Tata !

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      H1-Bs are not all computer geniuses. A lot of them are relatively inexperienced (but cheap, that's the important part) drones.

      I'm glad that the first emphasis of this program is turning to training home-grown talent. Hopefully the second part will be restructuring the H1-B program so that visa holders control the visas for until their expiration, and not the companies who they work for. And then that market-rate wages are paid to H1-B holders.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I've been on the side of evaluating, selecting, and working with H1B heavy firms.

      They are high end only on paper. The firms credential them and bill them as senior experts but pay them as the junior programmers that they are. Forget degrees and certificates, a few programming classes would be enough to give anyone the equivalent knowledge of many of those I worked with.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. hammarbtyp

    Been there...seen that

    Maybe it will work, but I have my doubts. I come from a dot-com generation where software was the new must do occupation. I remember virtually everyone being re-trained and shipped in to ride the gravy train. I worked with history, english lit and social science graduates, who had all been on a 6 month course to write software.

    The result?

    Pretty awful. Very few had any interest in software, saw it as a 9-5 job, refused to do any training or reading, and most lasted about 4 or 5 months, and the work often had to be re-done because it was so bad. When the dot-com boom ended, most of the rest moved. They were basically cannon fodder, especially in lucrative defense contracts where booking the man-hours was more important than quality.

    Its funny that other professions don't get treated the same way. Hey we are short of doctors, instead of shipping them in from Europe why don't we just put the unemployed on a 6 month course?

    1. HellDeskJockey
      Unhappy

      Re: Been there...seen that

      The other problem is to convince the employers to pay a reasonable wage. These days it's always "Times are bad we can't afford any raises." Thing is it happens every year.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been there...seen that

        "Times are bad & we can't afford raises" is utter bullshit when you look at their required tax filings & note that the C-level execs all got fat bonuses, it's just the poor people at the bottom --you know, the ones that do all the actual work-- that won't get raises. I'd love it if the laws required that any business that could afford to shovel money into the top of the corporate ladder could only do so until after they had showered the same amount on general raises for everyone at the bottom. It'll never happen. I want off this rock...

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Been there...seen that

          ... the C-level execs all got fat bonuses ...

          But of course: payroll expenses are down significantly!

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: Been there...seen that

        This year I'd be happy with being paid the salary I was promised. With furlough and then being paid 80% to return working from home times would indeed be bad, for my bank account, if I were spending like I did pre-plague. Fortunately I'm saving a lot in travel, food and entertainment since I almost never leave the house now.

  4. Why Not?

    well lets hope both in the US & UK governments start training locally. It makes sense.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge
      Trollface

      Paying the private sector to teach people

      I'm sure this will be a resounding success: Everybody going through the system will receive a paper. Accredited, no less! If I remember correctly, the current president used to run a university, so he'll know all about how that works.

  5. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Angel

    The US government giving money to colleges so that they teach people?

    Seems suspiciously communist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The US government giving money to colleges so that they teach people?

      It will be paid for medical care next plus statues of Lenin everywhere and a massive state security operation spying on world+dog..... oh hang on...

      1. naive Silver badge

        Re: The US government giving money to colleges so that they teach people?

        It will be paid for to import massive amounts of refugees originating from hostile cultures, to randomly stab people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The US government giving money to colleges so that they teach people?

      Actually if your government doesn't give money, then it probably is communism as someone is not "equal" (or at least in theory right).

      There is probably more tax funded colleges in the US than any other as every state seemingly has 50+ colleges that are "branches" and/or "accredited institutes". You'd think it would simply be the colleges with the state's initials in its name, maybe joined with a directional reference (N/E/S/W), but the lattice runs much deeper.

      What's great is that these colleges are tax funded, but then a creditor comes in and puts the student in the hole along with the tax portion thus double dipping the student on the taxes, meanwhile the government (tax payers) take all the risk. Since you can't claim bankruptcy on it (directly), it's the perfect educational BUSINESS model as all 350,000,000 taxpayers make somebody rich! I'm not implying that all education is a scam, but maybe the educations that create "government student loans" are.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who’d go work in the US right now?

    Rampant COVID spreading everywhere

    Insane man going for re-election

    Not even a rudimentary health system

    Right-wing nut-jobs and guns

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who’d go work in the US right now?

      Just looking at that checklist, that probably is true for a lot of the world currently.... in fact probably more of it than not.

      So at least you can gain "the American Dream" and "freedom".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who’d go work in the US right now?

        “Just looking at that checklist, that probably is true for a lot of the world currently.... in fact probably more of it than not.”

        You need to travel more...

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: Who’d go work in the US right now?

          There is no world outside of the USA.

          Remember that Tik-Tok US will be branded "Tik-Tok Global"...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who’d go work in the US right now?

      sorry man, you are in lala land, get to know some people and stop watching TV. It's 99% propaganda. I live in the US and only "know of" 2 people that have been sick in the last 6 months. All our politicians above state level are required to be insane, so thats normal. Health, lol, free doesn't mean better. Canadians come here for treatment even when free isn't fast enough.

      Your knife crime is wayyyyyyy more apparent than any gun crime stats in the US. Check your own house before pointing at others. I love the UK, we speak similarly lol, but seriously, stop trusting media.(besides the Reg and a few others, they do a good job) .

      1. Alan_Peery

        UK knife homicides vs US gun deaths -> 1:10

        sorry man, you really don't seem to know how to look at statistics. UK knife crime is both lower numerically per population than US gun crime, and much less likely to result in death.

        UK knife homicides 2018: 283 from the chart here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42749089#:~:text=In%20about%20two%20out%20of,the%20highest%20figure%20since%201946.

        US gun gun murders in 2017: 14,542 per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

        Adjusting for the US having roughly 5x as much population, that gives 1415:14542. The US DEATH TOLL IS 10X UK per head.

  7. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    This should surely resonate with a few people, particularly those who want jobs returned to the country and for their own citizens to be trained to do these things. I can imagine that resonates with some in the UK as well as some in the US. While I dont agree with these things it is what Trump was elected for.

  8. conel

    Auction the visas

    A simple solution to H1b would be having companies bid for the visas on the basis of what salary they're offering. Who ever offers the highest salary gets the limited supply of visas.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Auction the visas

      That's easy to sidestep.

      Contracting company get paid X. X goes on the form.

      Employee gets paid Y. Into a foreign account from a foreign company. No IRS tentacles here.

      Remember, a lot of the Jobs go to H1B visa applicants because they were previously advertised at below market rates.

  9. J27 Silver badge

    This isn't going to help any time soon, and that assumes they even find Americans who want to take the training. Maybe instead of VIsas they should have been offering a pathway to citizenship, then they wouldn't have had this problem in the first place.

  10. Someone Else Silver badge

    Erm...huh?

    The US Department of Labor (DoL) is offering $150m to train up unemployed Americans in IT and cyber-security in an effort to plug the skills gap caused by the Trump administration’s work visa clampdown.

    Kieran, I'm rather stunned that you would parrot this tripe. As any fule nose, there is no "skills gap", there is only a "greed gap"; the industry simply doesn't want to pay American wages to American workers, when they can pay slave wages to indentured bods who are beholden to a particular company for their very existence in the Land of the Free™.

    Even if the program does work and DoL-funded programs release sufficient numbers of qualified US workers to cover the shortage gap caused by visa restrictions, it is still unlikely to satisfy tech giants who proudly use their vast resources to pull in the world’s best programmers and then pay them high wages in order to stay one step ahead in the global IT market.

    I do hope I missed the <sarcasm> tag here, because if you really believe this, you are either smoking something really strong (in which case, I want some), or you're Jeff Bezos, and I claim my $5.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WFH

    "what to do for the next several years while waiting for adequately qualified American workers."

    Let them work from home like the rest of us are. Doesn't matter if someone is 20 or 200,000 miles from the office or what country anyone is in these days.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: WFH

      Doesn't matter if someone is 20 or 200,000 miles from the office or what country anyone is in these days.

      Yeah, it does if Comcast is your ISP....

      1. nichomach

        Re: WFH

        Damn, I felt the pain in that reply across the Atlantic.

  12. fredesmite2
    Mushroom

    Contract cockroaches ..

    Have destroyed America .

  13. Melanie Winiger

    We're our own worse enemies: if IT staff were regulated like Licenced Aircraft Engineers with international standards, that would help enormously.

    Instead of just relying on someone's copy-paste blurb on their CV coupled with a fake degree certificate...

  14. handle handle

    Make H-1B using companies fund the grants

    Fund the training by charging each company who receives an H-1B visa a fee which is 5X times the complete, burdened cost of the employee being hired. If the skills are truly "special" and "rare", then the extra fee to fund this Grant Program will just be part of the cost to do business.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021