H-IB Cap Unmet in 2001<@VM>E-Learning Spending Down at Some Firms<@VM>Workers Re-evaluate Careers after Sept. 11

The Immigration and Naturalization Service this month announced that it approved 163,200 H-1B visa applications against the 195,000 cap for fiscal 2001, which ended Sept. 30. U.S. employers file the applications for skilled foreign workers, many of whom have in-demand technology skills. Visa holders can work in the United States for up to six years.

Technology companies successfully lobbied Congress last year to increase the annual number of H-1B visas to 195,000 from 115,000. Also, Congress for the first time excluded from the cap H-1B visas approved for people working at colleges, universities and nonprofit research organizations.

At the end of the year, 29,000 H-1B visa applications were pending that if approved, would be recorded against the FY 2002 cap of 195,000.A new survey from the American Society for Training & Development in Alexandria, Va., shows that the economic downturn slowed spending on e-learning for some organizations.

Thirteen percent of 671 survey respondents said they decreased spending on e-learning during the first half of 2001, and 21 percent of respondents said they postponed spending. Seven percent increased spending on e-learning, and 54 percent said their spending was on target for the year.

Pat Galagan, editor-in-chief of ASTD's magazines, said organizations must be strategic about their employee training initiatives.

"No matter what kind of method is chosen to deliver training, whether it's through e-learning or in a classroom setting, organizations must tie employee training to business goals," Galagan said.Workers are re-evaluating their approaches to work after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, both finding refuge in work and changing their behavior at work, according to a new survey of more than 1,187 full-timers conducted late last month by the Reston, Va., CareerBuilder Web site.

While 43 percent said the events of Sept. 11 have not affected their lives at work, more than half reported new work behaviors, including:

? appreciation of the comfort provided by a work routine;

? appreciation of co-worker friendships;

? feelings of greater vulnerability;

? feelings of anxiety and;

? difficulty concentrating at work.

Despite reported difficulty concentrating at work, productivity is up since August, when 48 percent of workers said they completed most planned tasks each day. In October, 61 percent said they completed most daily tasks.

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