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Remarks by AIT Deputy Director Raymond F. Greene at SEMICON Talent Cultivation Symposium
September 24, 2020

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Logo
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Logo

Remarks by AIT Deputy Director Raymond F. Greene
at SEMICON Talent Cultivation Symposium
September 23, 2020

  (as prepared for delivery)

Executive Yuan Office of Science and Technology (BOST) Executive Secretary Tsai Zse-hong, Institute for Information Industry (III) President Cho Cheng-Hung, SEMI President Terry Tsao, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, wu an!

 It is my great pleasure to be here today to offer opening remarks at the first SEMICON Talent Cultivation Symposium.

We are all here today because we recognize a simple truth:  Talent is the key to realize virtually all of Taiwan’s economic policy objectives, including transitioning to an innovation-based economy, internationalizing Taiwan’s workforce, and becoming a digital nation.

Since its inception in July 2019, the Talent Circulation Alliance has been an important platform for AIT, Taiwan’s government, and private sector partners to promote the circulation of talent between Taiwan, the United States, and other like-minded partners, with the goal of cultivating a deep pool of capable, internationally-integrated, and digitally-savvy professionals.

We believe that if Taiwan’s top talent is deeply connected with the free and open Indo-Pacific then its future will likewise remain centered in the democratic world.

Let me be clear: Talent is at the core of the semiconductor industry, which is at the core of Taiwan’s economy.  We can spare no effort to attract and retain this critical resource.  Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is the world’s envy but to maintain its leading edge, we must all advance our efforts to help Taiwan develop and maintain top talent.

So how can we work together, public and private sector, to achieve this goal?

As mentioned in the American Chamber of Commerce’s Annual White Paper’s chapter on talent circulation, there are many was to do that.  Today I would like to comment on two specific ideas related to Talent cultivation.

First, we believe that Taiwan should continue to bolster skills in STEM related education, but not at the expense of building a global worldview in the next generation of leaders.  In today’s world, it is not enough to simply excel in technical areas.  The next generation of leaders in the semiconductor industry need to have a global outlook on top of technical know-how.

Taiwan needs to equip its workforce with strong communication, leadership, and English language skills and encourage its talent to develop an international mindset and seek international opportunities. In this digital age, Taiwan should expand the opportunity for Taiwan students to gain educational and professional experience abroad.

Second, Taiwan should continue to prioritize the cultivation of internationally connected and tech-savvy workers. Taiwan faces an talent shortage, but the substantial foreign talent already on the island can go a long way in filling this gap.  Taiwan should be more confident in welcoming foreign talent to Taiwan, recognizing that it is not a zero-sum competition with the local workforce.

One way to do this is to enact foreign-talent-friendly immigration regulations that will make it easier to integrate foreign talent already on Taiwan.  Most urgently, regulations should address hiring restrictions that create challenges for foreign job seekers, HR managers, and hiring companies.

Currently, the achievement of certain revenue benchmarks determines the number of visas a company may sponsor.  That system is especially limiting for startups at a time when various Taiwan cities and counties are working to stimulate startup activity.

In closing, I would like to thank the organizers of this event who represent some of the most dynamic private sector companies and most important public sector partners.  We often describe our partnership with Taiwan with the phrase “Real Friends, Real Progress” (真朋友, 真進展) and together, as partners in the TCA, we can continue to promote and protect Taiwan’s greatest natural resource: its talent. Thank you.