Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Why Engineering Enrollment Is Down

Engineering schools are experiencing a downturn in enrollment, and the reason why is actually pretty simple.

Engineers are smart.

People attracted to engineering are smart.

They know when the fix is in, and the fix is indeed in. It's called "indentured servitude". More specifically it's called the H-1B visa program. Employers can hire Chinese and Indian engineering school graduates for a small amount of money, even-especially,even!-in such unbelievably expensive places to live as Silicon Valley. They can work cheaply because they are willing to live ten-up, in three level bunk beds, in two bedroom apartments. They _will_ work cheaply because, to put it bluntly, it's their shot at moving here.

What people in Kansas and Indiana and Ohio and South Carolina and Idaho think about this is that it doesn't particularly affect them. Or at least, that's the common perception. This could not be more wrong.

It's the reason there are no electronic or computer businesses left in those areas. None to speak of, above the level of whitebox PC vendors and consulting agencies for old-line EBCDIC IBM dino heads and Vaginal Basic coders. Why should a company consider locating an office away from expensive Silicon Valley, when aside from office rents, Silicon Valley isn't that expensive-for them?

Of course, voters in Kansas aren't very smart. Unlike even Iowa, which is politically astute in terms of getting some influence on the national sphere despite its paucity of electoral votes, Kansas is the Stupid State politically. So Senator Sam can pocket the colossal contributions from corporate special interests intent on maintaining the status quo with no fear the populace will realize it is voting itself out of good jobs.

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