Labor Shortages and Comprehensive Immigration Reform [event]

The work force needs of U.S. employers are always a matter of debate, as are theories about how best to meet those needs. The chronic shortage of nurses, for instance, belies the fact that there are far more people who are trained as nurses than there are working nurses, and explains why seemingly obvious solutions, such as increased training or increased immigration, are not always sufficient to address imbalances.

At a time of rising unemployment and diminishing job security among American workers, the role that immigration plays in the labor market has become the subject of increased attention. On May 20, EPI hosted a daylong event, Labor Shortages and Comprehensive Immigration Reform, co-sponsored by Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies and the Migration Policy Institute, which examined the way immigration policy could impact the job market.

The event included keynote addresses by former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, the author of EPI’s new book, Immigration for Shared Prosperity, and Demetrious Papademetriou of MPI, as well as panels on different sectors of the job market — from teachers and physical therapists to the “science, technology, engineering and math” or STEM jobs, which are often awarded to non-U.S. citizens admitted into the country under H1-B Visas. The event concluded with presentations about the lessons to be learned from immigration practices around the world and recommendations on how the U.S. could set up an independent commission to monitor labor shortages and more closely link U.S. immigration policy to our labor needs.

Below is the full event agenda with presentations attached.


Registration and Continental Breakfast

Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Ross Eisenbrey, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

[Eisenbrey]Panel: What is a labor shortage and how do they arise?
Philip Martin, UC Davis – Comparative Immigration & Integration Program
  View presentation on Identifying Labor Shortages [PDF]
Burt Barnow, Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies
View presentation [PDF]

Occupation Case Studies

Science Technology Engineering & Math Workers
Ron Hira, Rochester Institute of Technology
  View presentation [PDF]
Norman R. Augustine, Lockheed Martin (retired)

Special Education Workers
Erling E. Boe, Professor of Education, and Co-Director, Center for Research and Evaluation in Social Policy, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
Phoebe Gillespie, National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
View presentation [PDF]  

Physical Therapists
Marc Goldstein, American Physical Therapy Association
View presentation [PDF]
Paul R. Rao, National Rehabilitation Hospital
  View presentation [PDF]
Construction (11:15-11:45 AM)
Dale Belman, Michigan State University 
View presentation [PDF]  

Lunch and Keynote Addresses
Ray Marshall, former Secretary of Labor, University of Texas
Demetrios Papademetriou, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

Panel: How can labor shortages be identified?
Malcolm S. Cohen, Employment Research Corporation
  View presentation [PDF]
Philip Martin, UC Davis – Comparative Immigration & Integration Program
  View presentation on Farm Labor Shortages [PDF]
Navjeet Singh, Commonwealth Corporation
  View presentation [PDF]

Panel: Best practices from abroad
• England – Martin Ruhs, Migration Advisory Committee
  View presentation [PDF]
• Ireland – Brian McCormick, FÁS
  View presentation [PDF]
• Canada – Karl Flecker, Canadian Labour Congress
View presentation [PDF

Panel: Structuring an independent commission to determine employment-based immigration levels by identifying labor shortages
Doris Meissner, MPI, former Commissioner of INS
Beryl Howell, United States Sentencing Commission
View presentation [PDF]
Mark Regets, National Science Foundation and Institute for the Study of Labor
Marc R. Rosenblum, Migration Policy Institute

Location: Economic Policy Institute, 1333 H St., NW, East Tower/Suite 300, Washington, DC (near McPherson Square Metro and Metro Center stations)