This IT retraining money is more than a distraction, it's a deliberate charade.
While the legislators may believe the stories about lack of training, the real issue is the lack of US entry level Java and .net jobs for programmers who already have the knowledge.
I say deliberate charade because few of the IT executives peddling this nonsense in Congress learned their most recent language and platform software in a class, they learned from books and quickly switched over on the job. The tough certification exams available from Sun, Microsoft, Oracle, etc., prescreen applicants and reduce the time required for technical interviews. It doesn't take years for an experienced programmer to come up to speed in a new language, it takes a few months. Besides, Java programmers don't start out as enterprise architects with the deepest possible understanding of OOP principles.
Many US companies are thoroughly hooked on low-wage, low-medical-expense, never-make-trouble H1B workers. They think it's the best thing since indentured servitude. It's up to Congress to cut them off cold turkey by cutting the H1B quota and unchaining existing H1B workers by giving them Green Cards.
Then we'll see plenty of US entry-level Java jobs on monster.com.
BTW, the threat to off-shore jobs in the absence of H1B's is more nonsense. The programming jobs left in the US are the ones that, by their nature, are unsuitable for off-shoring. If the employers could have shipped those jobs to Asia, they would have. [ February 12, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]
Alright, I'm back. I sat down yesterday and wrote the letter to my Senators McCain and Kyl. I also included my Representative Shadegg, who is in the House of Representatives...
Please understand that this is just a preliminary step in getting my lawmakers involved. I'm hoping that I can eventually coax them into this discussion here, on this website.
Anyone who is interested in a copy of the letter may ask me for for one. Wit the Federal Freedom Of Information Act (also called FOIA), you could theoretically ask the Senator for one too! I'm not sure if posting my correspondence on this website is appropriate; from what I understand, there's no way to attach a file to this discussion either!
Marcus L�ubli, SCJP 1.4, CLP 5.0, SCWCD 1.4 (preparing)