Later in the day Allen was interviewed on Bloomberg TV by Margaret Brennan. [see video]. The Bloomberg site doesn't have a transcript of the video so I made one starting about 2:30 into the clip.
Allen said that John Deere needs talent and the way to get that commodity is to hire many more H-1Bs. He never said if Deere is considering hiring the multitudes of talented Americans who are seeking employment but he did imply that's a possibility — if enough money is invested in education so that eventually Americans will have what it takes to work at John Deere. Roughly translated from Bloomberg businesstalk to regular English, Allen said that John Deere cannot be competitive if the company has to rely on homegrown talent in the United States. It's worth noting that Allen never said who's money should be invested to educate their new workforce so it's safe to assume he means government money instead of donations from John Deere.
As I will show after the transcript, Allen's arguments that John Deere can't find homegrown talent is totally undercut by the fact that all of their founders and most of their current executives were born in the USA and most of them are Caucasian.
Allen presented his case for the lack of talent in the U.S. by implying that Americans don't have enough education to work at John Deere. Ignoring the fact that people gain skills from education not talent, he failed to consider that the majority of the H-1Bs that he idolizes receive the same education as Americans because they all attend the same schools. The quality of the education is irrelevant unless he believes that people from Asia are intellectually superior to Americans [most H-1Bs are from India and China]. As is usually the case in the mainstream media the interviewer Margaret Brennan accepted what Allen said at face value.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have been talking about keeping this country more competitive. When you say you need more access to talented workers in the U.S.does that mean you are asking for more H-1B visas? What are you asking for specifically?Biographies at the John Deere and JD Heritage website helped to research the demographics and backgrounds of the founders and leaders of Deere. Here is a partial tabulation:
SAMUEL ALLEN: Clearly! And this morning what we were talking about is my role as Chairman on the Council on Competitiveness. We've introduced a new manufacturing initiative where we will report to the government, at the end of 2011, what policies we believe are needed to insure that America remains competitive well into this century.
In the near term I can speak for our company [John Deere]. We believe we need access to the talented workers all over the world so we must have more access to these visas. At the same time we need to continue to make more and more investments in educating our own, which will help for the long term and make us more sustainable.
There aren't many Asians in leadership positions at John Deere, which is evidence that their desire to hire H-1B visa holders is driven more by the need for cheap labor than talent.Â Deere doesn't have much in terms of executive engineering positions but there are a few: