WASHINGTON, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) Chief Technology Officer Gwenne Henricks urged Congress today to pass High Skilled Immigration Reform. Reforming our current system would enable companies to compete better in the global economy by recruiting top talent with an education in the "STEM" fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—from the United States and beyond. "Our education system in the United States is currently not producing a robust pipeline of graduates in STEM-related fields to meet our workforce needs," said Henricks. "STEM job growth is expected to be higher than any other occupation over the next 10 years. Caterpillar is actively working to increase the supply of skilled STEM talent in the United States and around the world to fill the jobs we have and will need in the future," Henricks added. Henricks also outlined the benefits for companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, such as engineering and science, through H-1B visas. The current annual cap for H-1B visas given in the United States is set at 65,000 and was filled on April 1, 2013—the first day that companies such as Caterpillar could file new H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2014. Based on current law, Caterpillar and other companies will be unable to recruit and hire new H-1B employees again until October 1, 2014. Caterpillar also supports granting green cards to foreign students who receive degrees in STEM fields from American universities and making them exempt from the annual cap. The company also advocates for lifting the per-country limit on green cards. "At Caterpillar, we know our people are our greatest asset. We employ more than 10,000 engineers, technologists and scientists worldwide who are dedicated to developing technologies that reshape the process of using, managing and owning heavy equipment. Last year, we filed for nearly 1,100 patents and spent approximately $2.4 billion on research and development. We need a solution that will address these issues and help us grow a sustainable pipeline of highly skilled workers to meet our growing needs while preserving the environment for future generations through innovation and collaboration," said Henricks. About Caterpillar:For more than 85 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. With 2012 sales and revenues of $65.875 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company also is a leading services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services and Progress Rail Services. More information is available at: http://www.caterpillar.com.