Wealth of nations is created in the industrial society mostly by the skill of scientist and engineers feeding the manufacturing industry with new and improved ideas and products. Although lawyers, bankers and administrative managers are also needed they hardly create values which can be exported. Typically engineering is a natural step for students with parents in the working class whereas children of the upper middle class prefer “soft” professions where talking is more important than thinking. For more than 50 years USA is relying on immigrants to staff the development labs. There were three major waves of scientist immigration. After world war II people came in from Europe very often with Jewish background. Then came the Chinese wave – mostly people educated in the US followed by engineers and scientist from India. Today, Indian and Chinese engineers and scientist can find interesting work in the scientific centers and labs in their own country. Thus USA must rely more on their own people. However, academic education is too expensive for working class people – thus you will not get enough hardworking engineers the country needs. You can see a similar trend in the UK.
Germany was always famous for its excellent engineers because engineering education was free and a preferred career path for children with working class parents. Now Germany is doing the same dumb thing as USA and UK and start tuition fees which make it hard for the children of working class parents to go to university. Now the industry is already complaining that they can’t find enough engineers!