April tech news: How visas, diversity could impact growth

The best stuff we’ve read, watched or listened to over the past month

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Apr 5, 2017, 5:13 PM

Each month we’re sharing the latest topics on talent, location selection, office design and construction and other real estate-ish topics that can help you make smart decisions for your business, your space and your people.

Tech is still leading real estate expansion nationwide, but the recipe for growth is getting harder to make. Policies from the new administration, slower funding, startup fatigue and talent troubles are likely weighing on your mind.

Here are five perspectives we think you should consider to help chart your path to growth this year.

Visa applications pour in by truckload before door slams shut

The U.S. suspension on premium processing of H-1B visas begins this week and many tech companies scrambled to apply. As of Monday, foreign skilled workers can no longer fast-track their visa applications. The U.S. Justice Department also said Monday they’d be targeting the strongest H-1B petitioners with more site visits and cautioned employers not to discriminate against American workers.

The fate of “skilled worker visas” is still up in the air. With no clear end date, the USICS site says the ban may last six months as they “catch up on ‘long-pending petitions.’” But many say the current frenzy is way overblown.

Tech’s wealthy enclaves hurt the country—and tech itself

While tech leaders are worried about new policies that hurt their hiring and growth strategies, they may have had a hand in their own undoing, says Issie Lapowsky of Wired. If tech companies and investors would spread their wealth more evenly throughout the U.S., it could benefit workers in remote areas and ease tensions between Washington and tech’s coastal elites.

Silicon Valley’s spooked by Trump and Mexico sees an opportunity

One Mexican official is taking Trump’s visa-policy threat as an opportunity to market his tech-friendly locale. Jalisco state governor Aristoteles Sandoval has been talking to tech companies about stationing more talent in Guadalajara—where many have factories, research centers or satellite offices anyway. Only a four-hour flight from San Francisco, he says “the interest is absolutely there.”

Zebras fix what unicorns break

Sprinting toward exit or IPO may not be the best growth strategy anymore. In short, unicorns are so 2016. According to journalists-turned-tech CEOs Mara Zepeda and Jennifer Brandel, what the world needs in 2017 is more zebras. Real, long-term, prosperous and diverse companies that “repair, cultivate and connect” rather than shake things up before they sell.

It’s worth mentioning that hundreds of founders, investors and industry participants agree: the startup system is broken. The question is will the industry empower women- and minority-led companies to help fix it?

Google wants to fix tech’s diversity program with an outpost for historically black colleges

How do you improve diversity and grow your workforce in an area that’s predominantly white and male? How do you prepare minority students for the culture shock that is Silicon Valley? Google’s new answer is to open their doors early. Instead of campaigning to black students, Google is launching a program to invite them in-house.

Howard University students will spend three months at Google’s Mountain View, California campus where they’ll take computer science classes and be mentored by black employees. The program shows the importance of in-office culture and nurturing talent. But success ultimately relies on its ability to generate long-term interest and fill an untapped talent pipeline.

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Author: Lillian Veley