Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are essential to U.S. economic competitiveness and growth. Over the last several decades the country has experienced a significant shortage of qualified workers for employment in STEM fields. Increasingly, businesses have to hire international workers to meet their needs.
Under the traditional OPT program, international students who graduate from colleges and universities in the U.S. are able to remain in the country and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students who graduate from a designated STEM degree program can remain for an additional time on an OPT STEM extension for 24 months. STEM graduates are essential to U.S. economic competitiveness and growth and in short supply.