Could immigrants help solve boating’s workforce shortage?

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Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin, who told Trade Only Today that legal immigrants comprise a large percentage of employees at several of the company’s facilities, argues in an Op-Ed in the Orlando Sentinel that these folks could help solve the country’s workforce shortage.

According to recent Department of Labor statistics, businesses in the United States have more than 7 million unfilled positions. “According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, there are about 240,000 open jobs in our state, and fewer than 60,000 people receiving unemployment benefits,” wrote Yeargin. “These statistics highlight a worker shortage crisis that over time will negatively impact our state and national economies, our ability to generate wealth and even our national security.”

The problem is so severe, Yeargin said, “that if you gather 20 CEOs in a room and ask about their biggest challenge, 18 of the 20 are likely to say it is finding good employees.”

A combination of retiring baby boomers and economic growth has generated many new jobs, resulting in a low unemployment rate. Yeargin said every industry in the country is struggling to solve the worker shortage.

“One solution that is not getting enough serious discussion is immigration,” Yeargin said. “Immigrants have provided the U.S. fuel that resulted in economic growth envied by the world. Without immigrants, our country would not have had the workers or consumers to drive the economic results that we have enjoyed.”

Admitting that immigration is an emotional topic, Yeargin argues that if the United States “overly restricts net contributors” who want to become legal immigrants, then “we run the risk of negatively impacting our economic future and missing the many benefits of immigration.”

Immigrants, Yeargin said, are significantly more likely to start new businesses than U.S. citizens. These businesses create millions of jobs. Immigrants also become consumers for U.S. products. Immigrants are often scientists and engineers who help keep U.S. companies globally innovative, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We clearly want responsible immigration policies that keep out terrorists and criminals,” Yeargin said. “However, by shifting our national paradigm to view immigrants not as threats but, as they have historically been, net contributors to our country, we can solve a serious current problem that will benefit Florida and position the U.S. for many more decades of global economic leadership.”

Yeargin told Trade Only today that legal immigrants make up a sizable percentage of two of its six national facilities. “In Orlando and California we have a high percentage of immigrants. Our experience is very good — great people and hard workers,” he said. 

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