Why are we not investing in the education of Americans so they can be the 'replacement workers'?
Part of the perfect lie that is STEM is that only a few people need training to perform manufacturing tasks. And for those few that do need some additional skills on the job training works great. Apprenticeships are alive and well in China. It does not take much looking under the rug to see the dirt, and it's everywhere. When Apple was making the first version of their iphone over in China at Foxcon they were hiring workers on a daily basis straight off from the rural farms. They were not turning anyone away.
How much training did those workers have?? Apple seemed to make do with them.
But I do not remember any widespread training in the US for those same jobs. Instead everybody was jacking their stock price higher than ever while Apple et al said that they did not have enough trained workers. Everybody wants to look the other way because they want to think that it is a shiny miracle - not the disparagement of the tech workforce that it really turned out to be at every corner.
The workers that they did have stateside they found a way to collude with other tech giants in order to control salaries. Other degreed and experienced engineers like Eric Saragoza they merely sloughed off. Nobody was going to hire him at his age when there was a giant surplus of workers looking for work even before the great recession. Merely because of how companies like Apple were able to export tech work to both India and China and eveywhere in between.
I really do not know how any stateside tech worker can buy an Apple product especially under Tim Cook, because they are actually helping to fund the demise of there own career.
So H1Bs are really just one piece of the larger puzzle used to help control the prices they are willing to pay for skilled labor in the US. When they say youngsters need to study STEM, what there really are saying is;
"we want to keep wages completely stagnant and you can help us do that by paying for your own training so we can get rid of older workers. But if you do not show up that works for us too, because we'll just get cheap H1Bs as they're easy to train and won't ask for raises. If they do, we'll just have some under the table agreements and they'll have no place to go. They can train their own replacement if they become too much of a hassle. Oh, math and physics majors, don't bother applying because you're not in our salary range either. We'll just say you're stupid and can't handle tech."
I could go on, but that's the gist of it. The really smart Electrical Engineers went to wall street and became successful quants. So at least one industry culture needed and saw the value in skills that could be transferred.