TECHNOLOGY & IMMIGRATION: CEOs Band Together to Ensure Access to Their Traditionally Diverse Workforce

For many CEOs, their future lies in the balance between finding the right talent here and being able to bring in experienced people from outside the U.S.

GettyImages-632955478-compressorIn late January, President Trump gave tech CEOs an issue that galvanized thousands of them to step up to oppose his ban on immigration from seven countries.

Tech outfits employ some of America’s most diverse workforces, and chiefs worried about having access to capable immigrants, as well as a perceived threat to the inclusivity ethos that fuels their trade.

Mid-market CEOs inside and outside of the sector were glad that judges throttled the ban and warned President Trump about doing perhaps unintended harm to one of the great engines of the U.S. economy.


“STEM talent from around the world should be attracted to the United States for the environment, talent and the economy, where they can create and we can absorb the ‘next best’ things,” argued Jeff Kiesel, CEO of Restaurant Technologies, maker of kitchen equipment.

From within the sector, Stephen Wakeling, CEO of wireless-tech outfit Phobio, observed that Trump has “indirectly hobbled technology for the future by changing the way the U.S. is marketed around the world. Most people see the U.S. as an inclusive place where they can come and, with hard work and intelligence, the sky’s the limit. Now [Trump] is changing it to an expectation that the U.S. may not be as inclusive and that people from around the world, dangerous or not, may not be as welcome.”

Jason Hogg would like to see President Trump direct his seeming interest in picking business “winners” and “losers” productively by having the federal government establish incubators for early-stage companies. “This model would not only create jobs as businesses grow and spin out, but would also expose mainstream companies to cutting-edge technologies, engineering practices and new market opportunities,” said the CEO of Tritium Partners, a private-equity firm.


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