DSM USA Policy HQ - Talent
The DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast is a monthly conversation between experts on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector.
In this installment of the DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast, Lori Chesser, immigration attorney with Dentons Davis Brown, and Tej Dewan, strategic initiatives officer with Principal, discussed upscaling of talent, the need for workers and identifying new groups in the talent pool in Greater Des Moines (DSM).
International Students Educated in Iowa
Despite an interest in staying in the state, international students often face having to return to their own country. Dewan said at Principal, recruiting international students is complex and has been for about 16 years, since international policy tightened and international students had trouble receiving the F-1 visa. The 9/11 attacks, the financial crisis of 2008 and the pandemic have all led to a population drop in international students. For many students, entry points into the U.S. workforce include a practicum training or internship post-graduation or an H-1B visa, which allows them to work for a company temporarily. Dewan said fewer students are arriving, which means fewer students are entering our workforce through these entry points as well. Other than prestigious universities, a majority of educational institutions are seeing a drop in international students. Principal has employed international student graduates for many years, but continues to have trouble hiring international talent due to an already small population of international students getting smaller.
Chesser, who works with a number of employers across DSM, said she educates business leaders on the international talent pool. Any foreign student who receives a terminal degree is typically entitled to apply for a one-year work permission, but admits one year isn’t very long. If the student is in a STEM field, and if the employee is using E-Verify, the student can get STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT), which offers three years of work authorization after college, from which then workers can go to a green card. There are also work opportunities during studies, such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and other programs.
According to Dewan, universities who have a person(s) who understands recruitment, arrival and graduation, and who can be close to the student to create a trust bond, is essential for encouraging international students to move forward with their next steps in their college to career journey.
Other topics discussed included benefits to hiring foreign-born graduates, policy changes to incentivize students to stay and work in the U.S. and how the local business community can get into immigration reform.
Listen to the entire podcast above.
Learn more about global talent in DSM here.
The DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector. Join us each month to hear from local Greater Des Moines (DSM) experts. To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.