RIT Professor Invited to Participate in Council of Foreign Relations

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Roundtable on Offshore Outsourcing, Feb. 4

Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been invited to participate on a roundtable to discuss offshore outsourcing and its implications for the high-tech workforce in the United States. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Council of Foreign Relations.

The roundtable—part of the series, Technology, Innovation and American Primacy—will take place Wednesday, Feb. 4, in New York City. It will consider how government policy promotes or hinders technological innovation at a time when U.S. firms are exporting work to cut costs. The roundtable will discuss trends in overseas outsourcing and potential consequences, such as a weakened economy, erosion of the U.S.’ global stature, and threats to American security, among other issues.

“There is more attention to offshore outsourcing now due to media coverage and the persistent unemployment problem,” Hira says. “I think people are beginning to realize this is having real impacts. And with the upcoming presidential election, there is more scrutiny. Policymakers are now seeing the movement of white collar jobs overseas as a foreign policy issue because of the security and economic implications.”

Hira was also invited to join the Council on Competitiveness’ National Innovation Initiative (NII). On Feb. 26 and 27, Hira will attend the first working group meeting of the NII at Georgia Institute of Technology. The yearlong project, led by IBM’s Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano and Georgia Institute of Technology President G. Wayne Clough, will develop a strategic plan for driving innovation. The initiative will culminate in a National Innovation Summit to be attended by administration officials, governors, members of Congress and private sector leaders.

In January, Hira briefed senior congressional staff on policy issues related to offshore outsourcing during a roundtable organized by the Council on Competitiveness.

Hira, an expert on engineering workforce issues, is also the chair of the Careers & Workforce Policy Committee for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA (IEEE-USA). His work focuses on technology and industrial policy. Hira’s recent research looks at the development of the Indian software industry, policy implications of offshore outsourcing, and new methods for measuring the linkage between research priority setting and social outcomes.