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An Open Letter to Congress: Software Industry’s Priorities Create Jobs

Dear 115th Congress,

Congratulations on your election to office – we look forward to working with you. Job creation will undoubtedly be a top priority on your list in the coming year, and it’s a top priority for our industry. As our recent economic impact report shows (done in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit) the software industry contributes more than $1 trillion to the US GDP, nearly 10 million jobs, and $52 billion in R&D, with significant effects in each of the 50 states. As you begin your work, we’d like to draw your attention to software industry priorities that directly impact jobs in the US.

It’s predicted that by 2020, the number of new computing jobs in the US will rise to 1.4 million, but we’ll have just 400,000 computer science students with the skills to apply for them. Congress can and must make investments in STEM education. With the proper training, thousands more Americans will be prepared to take those great-paying jobs.

To help increase jobs in the US, Congress can maintain a firm stance on international data policy. Companies of all sizes across all industries rely on the ability to transfer data around the world to provide essential services. Recently, other governments have pushed to keep data within the confines of their borders. This would have serious effects on the ability of businesses in the US to offer services abroad, and thus threaten American jobs. Congress can help businesses in all 50 states grow by supporting a strong data policy agenda.

The software industry also hopes to see Congress work on polices to properly protect intellectual property. These policies will in turn foster jobs because they encourage the research and development that drives innovation. Patent reform can reduce frivolous litigation and free up resources for greater investment. Congress should look to enable the jobs of the future as software continues to develop a range of cutting-edge technologies that greatly improve lives and help solve intractable problems.

Software is and will continue to be a major driver of jobs in the US. We stand ready to support you in improving the lives of our citizens and the economic future of our country.

Sincerely,

The Software Industry c/o BSA | The Software Alliance

Victoria Espinel

Author:

Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance and President of Software.org: the BSA Foundation, is a respected authority on the intersection of technology innovation, global markets and public policy. She leads strategic efforts that help shape the technology landscape in 60 countries through work in BSA’s 10 global offices.

Prior to heading BSA | The Software Alliance, Espinel served for a decade in the White House, for both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Espinel advised President Obama on pivotal IP issues in her role as the first US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. She was the chief US trade negotiator on IP innovation as the nation’s first Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation. She has also served as a professor of international trade and intellectual property at the George Mason School of Law.

Espinel is a founding and ongoing co-sponsor of Girls Who Code’s Washington, DC, summer immersion program, which empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She speaks at conferences around the world to build visibility for the amazing things people can do with software, and encourages businesses, governments, and the public to support a policy environment that will enable even more software breakthroughs.

Espinel chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), the principal advisory group for the US government on international trade. She holds an LLM from the London School of Economics, a JD from Georgetown University Law School, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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