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Jesse Jackson on H-1B Visas: Don’t Go Abroad for High-Tech Workers — Look to Black Colleges

On Friday’s broadcast of “Risk & Reward with Deirdre Bolton” on the Fox Business Network, Rainbow PUSH Coalition president Jesse Jackson spoke about the need for Silicon Valley to look within the United States, particularly the African-American community, and not abroad for more high-tech employees.

Jackson argued that Silicon Valley needs to go beyond just look for high-tech workers, but blue-collar workers as well.

“Well, there is more of an opportunity deficit than talent deficit. It means reaching out further and recruiting and retaining. For example, the 189 board members in the top 20 companies — 56 white woman, three African-Americans and one Latino. It is not hard to find them. In the c-suites, 370, three blacks. Three Latinos. More are qualified than that. Employment level around 2 percent. And while tech is important and [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] and engineers, about 65 percent of the valley is non-tech. And now Facebook has made a great move to the raise wages of workers to $15 an hour. So that minimum wage for them to be inclusive, not just focus on engineering and STEM.”

On the high-tech workers in particular, Jackson insisted the best course of action would be fod the tech sector to place a focus on historically black colleges and universities instead of looking abroad.

“As a matter of fact Intel set aside $3 million,” he continued. “Part of it focused on a pipeline from HBCUs, black colleges to Silicon Valley. Howard University and Morgan State and North Carolina A&T and Hampton. As a matter of fact, the chair of Microsoft is a Florida A&M graduate. So, if you want more STEM graduates, more engineers, invest in them. If you want more apple trees, plant apple seeds. The fact we need not go abroad to get H-1B workers. There are workers in Oakland. Workers in across the country if trained an invested in, in fact they give us high return. They are American-born and American-bred.

At the end of the segment, Jackson added he expected to be voting for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the forthcoming 2016 presidential contest.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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