All of these changes were only possible because of one thing: technology. Ohio’s need for strong and reliable technology has never been greater, which is why it is more important than ever to be a leader in technological innovation and in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Establishing Ohio as a leader in the technology industry will require a sizable and highly skilled, responsive group of workers to meet our needs. To be a true leader in technological innovation, we will also need to apply that innovative mindset to how we approach our workforce needs. Ohio has made great strides in retooling our education system to prepare our citizens for the STEM industry, and we should continue to bolster the field by attracting and retaining global high skilled talent to support our current workforce and supplement the jobs unfilled by U.S.-born Ohioans.
Immigrants are already playing an outsize role in helping our economy meet the growing technological needs of our workforce by filling critical STEM positions. Recently released research from New American Economy, a bipartisan research and advocacy organization, found that immigrants account for just 4.6 percent of the population in Ohio, but make up 20.7 percent of workers in the computers systems design and related services industry, 17.8 percent of software developers, and 7.1 percent of computer systems analysts. New Ohioans are contributing to our job growth in the state and currently account for 10 percent of the STEM entrepreneurs in Ohio.