New Publication | Building on Early Success: Next Steps in U.S.-Mexico Educational Cooperation

By Angela Robertson and Duncan Wood

USA and MexicoLaunched in 2014, the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII) seeks to “expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation to help both countries develop a 21st century workforce for both our mutual economic prosperity and sustainable social development.” It aims to promote binational cooperation in higher education and research, especially regarding important areas for innovation in the United States and Mexico, by promoting programs for student mobility, academic exchange, research, and innovation in areas of common interest to contribute to the competitiveness of the region.

Cultural and educational exchanges help to create connections between the people and institutions of the United States and Mexico via exchange programs, scholarships, grants, and joint research.  Increasing educational exchanges and strengthening workforce development and innovation, particularly in STEM areas, will allow the United States and Mexico, and North America as a whole, to compete in global markets. Thus, FOBESII has the potential to build a more prosperous future for both the United States and Mexico.

Nonetheless, this short paper argues that, while FOBESII has done much to expand educational exchanges, increase joint research, and promote innovation, it has yet to achieve its stated goals and continues to face serious challenges. We argue that to overcome these challenges, future initiatives must focus on advancing private sector engagement, workforce development, and improving public communication and outreach. FOBESII continues to be a relevant and important initiative, but it is in urgent need of restructuring and redirection if it is to make a significant contribution to bilateral affairs and regional competitiveness.

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How immigration reform might also spur young Americans to study math, science

shutterstock_49761472The Christian Science Monitor, 6/8/2013

Tucked into immigration reform legislation in both chambers of Congress are little-noticed measures that could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into cultivating a new generation of American students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM). Such a move could help shore up what much of corporate America and many lawmakers see as a glaring deficiency in the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness.

The bills offer at least $200 million per year (but perhaps as much as $700 million, advocates say) by channeling fees from high-skilled visas into investments in STEM education and job training. Specifically, legislators would increase the fee that employers pay to sponsor high-skilled temporary workers (visas known as H-1Bs) and direct $1,000 of that bump toward a special “STEM fund.” The fund would also be supported by an additional $1,000 cost to employers looking to sponsor H-1B workers for permanent residence in the United States.

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Op-ed: Immigration Reform and the Skills Gap

shutterstock_49761472By Rosario Marin, The Wall Street Journal, 6/6/2013

I have lived the American dream, which began when I was born in Mexico. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. on my father’s work visa when I was 14 years old, and I later served as the 41st treasurer of the United States—the only treasurer born outside of the U.S. Since its founding, America has grown stronger, and its companies more competitive, by attracting the best and brightest from around the world. So it’s a relief to see Congress finally beginning to act on immigration reform.

The key issue is improving mechanisms for legal immigration by people who will contribute to the nation’s prosperity. Unfortunately, the compromise bill that emerged from the Judiciary Committee that the Senate intends to take up next week contains provisions that would turn away some of the most highly educated people. Barring them threatens our future economic growth. The current skilled-labor shortage—particularly for workers in science, technology, engineering and math occupations—puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage. By 2020, an estimated 1.5 million jobs will go unfilled, according to McKinsey & Co. Until America can educate enough graduates in these fields to meet the demand, legal immigration is the only option to find the necessary talent.

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Immigration Hearing Pits Family Against Economy

us congressThe Wall Street Journal, 3/18/2013

A Senate hearing Monday drew attention to competing philosophies on immigration overhaul: boosting the economy or reuniting families. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, immigration advocates defended programs allowing immigrants to bring extended family members to the U.S., including  adult siblings or adult children. Such programs often have long waiting lists, and recently Republicans in both the House and Senate have suggested that they want to eliminate some of those categories.

“Children will always be our children whether they’re over the age of 21 or not,” said Mee Moua, chief executive of the Asian American Justice Center and one of the witnesses at Monday’s hearing. “For us to start thinking about which members of our family we’re going to trade away is a dramatic and drastic departure from the core values of what has been driving this country since the founding days.”

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Mexico boasts impressive number of engineering & technology grads – #MexFacts

MexFact - Engineers

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