Adler University, along with more than 110 colleges and universities from across the U.S., filed an amicus brief in the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union vs. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (WashTech) litigation to defend Optional Practical Training programs.
A federal district court is considering whether to strike down student experiential learning programs, Optional Practical Training and Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Optional Practical Training. These programs provide temporary employment authorization to international students so they may gain practical training related to their field of study in the United States.
The programs permit international students studying at colleges and universities in the United States on F-1 status to pursue practical training with a U.S. employer in a position directly related to their course of study. Hundreds of thousands of international students and graduates participate in Optional Practical Training across the nation each year.
“Optional Practical Training is a long-standing government program that permits international students to continue, and deepen, their education by applying the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom to a professional setting,” the brief states. “Optional Practical Training provides untold benefits for these international students. But, just as critical, being able to provide international students with the opportunities facilitated by Optional Practical Training gives American institutions of higher education an edge in an increasingly competitive global education market.”
Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., is a member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which coordinated the “friend of the court” brief with NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit, both Optional Practical Training and STEM Optional Practical Training could end. The brief argues that the experiential learning that these programs promote is a key component of U.S. higher education. The internship, training, and career preparatory work opportunities that are available through the programs are part of the broader educational life cycle for all students on campus and beyond.