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This week, conveniently overlooking the fact that Anglos, blacks, American Indians and even some Asians live in the Valley and actually might need some motivation to make something better out of their lives as they get ready to graduate from high school, UT-RGV, the former UT-Pan Am, is doing its big (14th) annual HESTEC (Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology) week-long education redcarpet convention, trying to urge more local Hispanic high school kids to pursue a career in STEM as being their path to riches.
STEM, for those who don’t know, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We’ve been told that America is short of such college graduates. So the push is on to create more. But is it really a path to a secure, well-paying career? Or is it a path toward student debt by the time they graduate and can’t find a job in a STEMrelated field with a whopping $35,000 student debt bill pinned to their graduation gown?
Since 2002, U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-McAllen, has hosted the UT-Pan Am (now UT-RGV) event in Edinburg. This year, apparently wanting their piece of the student-debt pie, South Texas College, Texas Southmost College and Texas State Technical College are joining in the festivities, trying to sign up kids for their big adventure into the land of big debt. Texas A&M will soon be in town. So the more, the merrier.
From all of the media hype I’ve seen, Hinojosa, along with his fellow elected career politicians, are clasping hands with the career folks in education, trying to pump up the benefits of a STEM education.
From all of the media hype I’ve seen, Hinojosa, along with his fellow elected career politicians, are clasping hands with the career folks in education, trying to pump up the benefits of a STEM education.
Instead, they’re pouring coffee at Starbucks or what? Flipping burgers at a fast-food joint? Helping customers fill out their applications at the local ATT store for a new cell phone?
The U.S. Census report, dated July 2014, found that a surprising 74 percent of STEM graduates did not have STEM jobs.
Not surprisingly, those with something to gain, namely the huge IT companies and colleges and loan centers, were quick to respond with their own survey – the National Center for Education Statistics – that suggested those nasty old fuddy-duddy kill-joys at the U.S. Census Bureau were using erroneous data, and really, STEM grads were happy and well placed in STEM-related jobs.
In a story published at, the director of the University of Houston STEM Center, Bonnie Dunbar, actually managed to say, apparently with a straight face, that the reason the big IT companies are recruiting engineers from China and India are because “we don’t have a local supply.”
Has Ms. Dunbar not been reading the newspapers. For example, consider this New York Times’ headline dated June 3, 2015: 
“Pink slips at Disney. But first, training foreign replacements.”
That’s right. Disney laid off about 250 of its American employees so it could pay less money to foreign IT workers who were here in the states on H-1B (work) visas. The same visa class that Republican presidential wannabe Marco Rubio wants to increase by approximately 200 percent. Not enough American jobs going to cheaper-paid foreigners. Let’s double the number of H-1B visas that allow them to work here.
To really stick the blade even deeper, not only did Disney lay off the approximately 250 American employees, but made them train their foreign lesser-paid replacements before leaving if they still wanted a paycheck to the very end of their tenure with the Donald Duck company.
In Southern California earlier this year, the same scenario played out (Computerworld; Feb. 4, 2015). Southern California Edison laid off about 400 American STEM (IT) workers and replaced them with workers from India who had their H-1B visas firmly in hand. Why? Because Edison could pay the foreign workers less, duh.
As quoted in the Computerworld story: “They are bringing in people with a couple of years’ experience to replace us and then we have to train them,” said one longtime IT worker. “It's demoralizing and in a way I kind of felt betrayed by the company.”
Gee, you think?
If Ruben Hinojosa or his colleagues, such as U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, really gave a rat’s (expletive) about whether or not Americans had jobs, particularly STEM-related jobs, they’d be screaming about this H-1B visa injustice all across the halls of Congress. But I don’t hear it. In fact, when the Democrats still controlled Congress in 2013, Ruben and Filemon and their Dem co-horts endorsed an immigration bill that would increase the H-1B visa annual cap from 65,000 to 110,000, with an escalator included that would let it climb as high as 180,000.
After all, big business wants cheap labor. And since it’s their money funding these politicians (hey, it takes money to campaign), they do their bidding
In the end, the Democratsponsored bill passed the Senate but not the House.
Bill, the hypocrite
Guys like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, go around talking up education, handing out grants here and there (basically so they can have some tax write-offs), while on the other hand, they push for increased H-1B visas. Why?
Because they like cheap labor
Besides, how else is Bill expected to grow his net worth of $79.2 billion (Forbes) up to an even $100 billion if he has to keep paying so much to American workers? Bring in the Indians and the Chinese, and pay them less.
In a study done using data provided by the Department of Education and National Science Foundation, three professors (Rutgers, Georgetown, Urban Institute) concluded that guestworkers (foreigners) with H-1B visas account for between onethird to one-half of all new IT job holders.
Those American kids with the $35,000 student debt with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related field? Too bad, kid. But I hear Starbucks is hiring. Maybe Hertz. OJ’s out of a job.
So when U.S. Representatives Ruben Hinojosa and Filemon Vela and the rest of the career politicians who do the bidding of big business are over at UTRGV this week pumping up STEM at HESTEC (can Anglos, blacks, Asians even attend?), urging kids to go into hock and attend college where STEM will insure them a good future, can you believe them? Well, not according to the figures.
Don’t just take my word for it. GOOGLE: “STEM grads with bachelor’s degree can’t find jobs.”
Here’s a beaut from Forbes, May 2013: “Half of college grads are working at jobs that don’t require a degree.”
So, during a recent interview
I had with IDEA Public Schools CEO Tom Torkelson, who’s found a way to make close to half a mil (country club membership included) without the benefit of a STEM degree (start a charter school), and he tells me something like, "Well, there’s no denying that a young person today with a college degree is better off than the one without," I really wonder.
Note: IDEA’s big fame to claim is that 100 percent of its graduates go on to college.
But when I hear Torkelson say that to me, I think, no, Tom, I’m not so sure you are right. At least the 20-somethings without the college bachelor degrees don’t have approximately $35,000 in student debt hanging around their neck while pouring coffee at Starbucks, serving up the Indian with the H-1B visa who just got hired by HP to work in its IT department.
But the Disney employee with the bach degree in information technology, just handed the pink slip, asked to train his or her foreign replacement from China, sure does have a college loan to repay. And the feds don’t lighten up when it comes time to collect that guaranteed student loan worth approximately $35,000.
What I’d recommend is that kids today take a welding class at night at the local community college. Cost a lot less, and I don’t see any welders from India or China flying in to steal the welding jobs. Or become a plumber, an HVAC tech, an auto tech, an electrician. Blue collar’s where it’s at, in my opinion.
White collar, only real secure jobs in STEM are nurses and doctors.
Strike that. I just GOOGLED “H-1B visas for nurses.”
Until August of last year, foreign nurses didn’t qualify for H-1B visas. But now they do. And it’s apparently better if the RN doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. So skip UT-RGV and get an associates degree at STC instead. Those nurses without a bachelor’s degree appear safer. The new H-1B visa policy for nurses only includes certain types of nurses. Such as these:
“Nurses performing specialized and complex duties usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, such as: addiction nurses, cardiovascular nurses, critical care nurses; emergency room nurses; genetics nurses; neonatology nurses; nephrology nurses; oncology nurses; pediatric nurses; peri-operative nurses; or rehabilitation nurses.” 
American STEM workers, getting screwed up one side and down the other.
--by G. Romero Wendorf


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