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

Department of Labor puts $150m into computer, cyber-security training grants to plug visa hole


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 to high-skilled H-1B occupations... including information technology and cyber security” and so “train a new generation of workers to grow the future workforce.”

The announcement comes one week before new restrictive visa rules are due to take effect that will greatly reduce the number of foreign workers that will be admitted to the US through the H-1B work visa. The largest recipients of those visas are tech companies and outsourcers bringing in foreigners with high-end computer skills. The new restrictions have been strongly opposed by tech giants including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, PayPal, and Twitter among dozens of others.

In June, President Trump signed an executive order banning some visa types, including most H-1B applicants, from entering the US, give or take a few caveats. This was slightly relaxed in August by the Commerce Department. In the meantime demand for H-1B visas has crashed.

visa

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... but not your H-1B geeks, L-1 staffers nor J-1 students

READ MORE

The DoL will accept applications from four types of organization: industry associations; education providers like community colleges; companies set up to train the federal workforce; and economic development agencies. It estimates it will hand out 30 awards that will range in value from $500,000 to $10m.

The department stressed that it is particularly interested in training up people that are currently unemployed, part-time workers that want to work full-time and “incumbent workers needing to update or upskill to retain employment or advance into middle to high-skilled positions.” US military veterans and their spouses get priority on the training schedule.

Reversal on the way?

While the desire to upskill Americans, particularly those out of work, for jobs that are in high demand is admirable, it will not resolve a major issue for tech companies facing work visa restrictions: what to do for the next several years while waiting for adequately qualified American workers.

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.

There is also the fact that next month the presidential election may see the policy reversed: the restrictions on work visas and immigration in general have been driven by President Trump and the White House. If Trump loses the election, chances are that come January, the clampdown will be reversed, and tech companies will immediately revert to the previous system. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading
  • Google assuring open-source code to secure software supply chains
    Java and Python packages are the first on the list

    Google has a plan — and a new product plus a partnership with developer-focused security shop Snyk — that attempts to make it easier for enterprises to secure their open source software dependencies.

    The new service, announced today at the Google Cloud Security Summit, is called Assured Open Source Software. We're told it will initially focus on some Java and Python packages that Google's own developers prioritize in their workflows. 

    These two programming languages have "particularly high-risk profiles," Google Cloud Cloud VP and GM Sunil Potti said in response to The Register's questions. "Remember Log4j?" Yes, quite vividly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022