Skills, not quotas, will boost high-tech diversity

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Rev. Jesse Jackson wants President Barack Obama to do something about the lack of diversity in the tech industry, calling it “the next step in the civil rights movement.”

“The government has a role to play” in seeing that women and minorities are fairly represented in the tech workforce, the Rev. Jackson told the USA Today editorial board this week. He said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to examine Silicon Valley’s employment contracts, and he wants Labor Secretary Tom Perez to push for a review of H-1B visas, which allow U.S. companies to hire foreigners for specialty jobs. The Rev. Jackson says data show Americans have the same skills as foreigners and should receive priority consideration for high-paying tech work.

At first glance, the Rev. Jackson has a point.

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