By Phil Harwood
The solution to the labor shortage is right in front of us. It’s actually very simple but it will require all of us to work together. Are you ready to work together to solve this problem? Me too.
The first thing we have to address, before we get to the labor shortage, is the ability - or inability - for people with differing opinions to work together toward a common goal. If we can’t work together to solve a problem, then the real problem is that we can’t work together. Forget about solving the labor shortage or any other large societal issue.
Honestly, I think this is why the labor problem has not been solved, because common-sense solutions have been brought forward for decades. Yet, here we are. Everyone saw this coming and nobody did anything about it. The Baby Boomer generation didn’t just sneak up on us. We’ve been talking about this demographic shift for decades.
Here’s the deal. There are more than enough people in the world who would love to have an opportunity to work in the U.S. but are unable to do so because of governmental policies. It really is that simple. All we need to do is open up a sufficiently large pipeline for these people to legally enter the U.S. workforce. Because we haven’t done so, and the demand for workers is so great, there is a massive incentive to skip the legal process that is woefully inadequate and enter the U.S. illegally.
Every day, people from around the world risk life and limb to cross our southern border for a shot at living and working in the U.S. Once here, they will be picked up and processed. Most will remain in the U.S., which only exacerbates the problem by encouraging more to do the same.
Our universities are filled with foreign students from all over the world. I’m guessing that 99.99% of them would stay in the U.S. after graduation, if they were allowed to. Most will not be allowed to stay and will go back home, while those who enter illegally through our southern border are allowed to stay. Our policies are backward. We push out those who are educated and didn’t break our laws to be here, while we welcome the uneducated who did break our laws to be here.
The solution is to allow legal entry into the U.S. anyone who is willing to work, support themselves, and contribute to our society. Begin with those who are educated and will contribute to our economy. Permit these people to come from any country but through a legal process that will allow them to remain permanently and work in the U.S. Temporary guest worker programs will never be sufficient to meet our needs for workers. Obviously, the borders need to be secure at the same time.
We also should take in those who are in need (because we have the resources to do so) with the understanding that they will not be able to support themselves. We have always been a generous nation and hopefully that will not change.
This simple solution would change the game entirely. Instead of encouraging the world’s uneducated to enter illegally, we would be encouraging the world’s educated to enter legally. Get an education and come to the U.S. We want you. Or, come to the U.S. to become educated. Graduate from a U.S. trade school or university and stay here.
Do you see the simplicity of this solution? What is holding us back? Is it really that we just can’t work together any more toward a solution? Nobody wants to allow the “other side” to have a win? We all just want opposing voices to be silenced? Until we fix that problem, our simple solution to the labor problem will never be realized.
For my part, I am hoping and praying that it will change. And I’m committing myself to be able to hear opposing opinions and to work toward common solutions. Who’s with me?
Now go forth.
Tags: Change , Labor Shortage , Solution ,