Students the US and Mexico Share

The mass resignations recently in the U.S., especially of college-educated workers, are speeding up a tendency, predicted decades ago, that is the result of an aging U.S. population.

Cooperation on U.S. and Mexican immigration and education policies represents an opportunity to promote the economic growth and development of human capital that both countries need.

The mass resignations recently in the U.S., especially of college-educated workers, are speeding up a tendency, predicted decades ago, that is the result of an aging U.S. population.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was already predicted that in California alone, there would be a shortage of 1 million university graduates by 2030, because only 40% of jobs will require a university degree by then. Latinos now make up 38% of California’s population, but according to national data, Latino students have less favorable educational outcomes than average; this limits their access to a university education.

Making full use of this human capital requires changes to the educational system, but also to immigration policy.

According to the Urban Institute, approximately 6 million students are minors and have at least one Mexican parent. Many of these students or a member of their family, are facing irregular immigration status and the persistent risk of being forced to return to their country. Their immigration status also limits access to a series of services and programs that would let them better plan their educational and professional future.

Integrating these students into the educational system in the U.S. still comes with many challenges. But Mexico has much to learn from its neighbor to the north, since the number of students who have returned to Mexico, although they are the children of Mexican immigrants and were born or grew up in the U.S., has increased, reaching around 600,000 students.

As they do on the U.S. side of the border, these young people face language, cultural and administrative barriers to integrating into the Mexican educational system. There are also those students who have a foot in both camps, since they have spent time in the schools of both countries.

The students the U.S. and Mexico share could be the core of an important bilateral initiative that, by aligning the immigration and education policies of the two countries, might be able to breach the skills gap that is so prominent in the post-COVID world.

The Migration and Education Forum, backed by Alianza MX, will bring together academic experts from the two countries under the leadership of the University of California, the College of Mexico, the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, and government, business and civil society representatives. Working together, they will articulate public policies aimed at developing a competitive, transnational and sustainable workforce in Mexico and the U.S.

Isabel Studer is the Director of the Alianza UCMX (University of California-Mexico).

About this publication

About Tom Walker 230 Articles
Before I started working as a translator, I had had a long career as a geologist and hydrologist, during the course of which I had the opportunity to work on projects in Mexico, Chile, and Peru. To facilitate my career transition, I completed the Certificate in Spanish-English Translation from the University of California at San Diego. Most of my translation work is in the areas of civil engineering & geology, and medicine & medical insurance. However, I also try to be aware of what’s going on in the world around me, so my translations of current affairs pieces for WA fit right in. I also play piano in a 17-piece jazz big band.

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