SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Silicon Valley faces not only serious foreign competition, but a growing number of serious U.S. tech centers that want Silicon Valley companies to come to their cities. So, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, held an innovation and competitiveness forum today.
Many companies here are concerned that the region's high tech industry needs to work harder to keep ahead of other up and coming tech hubs such as Boston, Austin, Seattle, New York and L.A. "We're showing some signs of we weakness in our region against our competitors across the country," said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Besides the obvious concerns about unaffordable housing, congestion and long commutes, there simply are not enough Americans, male or female, trained and qualified to take all of the unfilled high paying jobs that go unfilled. "Educate our own young students to compete for the jobs we're creating here," said Mr. Guardino.
That is why Silicon Valley, venture capitalists and investors are worried about potential immigration restrictions “Fifty-seven out of every hundred engineers that fuel Silicon Valley's economy were not blessed to be born in the United States," said Guardino.
So, tech firms worry that restrictions on visas will make the problem worse if America shows an unfriendly face to foreigners. "Will immigrants, high skill immigrants want to come to the United States, not because they can't legally, which could be an issue, but because they don't feel welcome," said Greg Becker, CEO Silicon Valley Bank that funds many startups. And, the firms also have to be welcoming to the women who want high tech careers but not the harassment that sometimes go with.
"It's getting a lot more attention and I personally think that's healthy. When you look at all the studies over time, the best companies are actually created from a diverse workforce and that's both gender and ethnicity," says Mr. Becker.
To catch up and keep up each year for years to come, the U.S. would have to graduate 125,000 computer science degree holders, American men and women. Fact is, we produce only 50,000; almost all men, half of whom are immigrants.