Boots & Sabers

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Everything but tech support.

2035, 09 Jul 17

Foxconn Considers Wisconsin

This would be a monumentally positive economic development for Wisconsin should it come to pass.

If Foxconn Technology Corp. builds a multibillion-dollar “smart factory” in southeastern Wisconsin, it could mean the equivalent of creating an industrial complex not seen since the heydays of A.O. Smith and Allis-Chalmers.

At their peak in the last century, each of the legendary Milwaukee-area industrial behemoths employed 10,000 workers or more.

Neither of their campuses exist any longer. And neither do the sort of rank-and-file lunch pail jobs that those titans once championed.

Foxconn is expected to require troops of high-end systems engineers who can operate robots, artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art automation systems.

If a Foxconn deal moves ahead, the region would need to move with Manhattan Project-like urgency to mount a come-from-behind retraining and recruitment campaign for automation-savvy workers, according to a consensus of workforce experts. Southeastern Wisconsin already labors under such an acute shortage of digital-age workers that incumbent manufacturers often cannot find qualified candidates.

True, Wisconsin doesn’t have the workers to fill these jobs. They would have to move to Wisconsin or a good number of Wisconsinites would have to retrain. Either way, it would be a boon for the state and undoubtedly launch thousands of other satellite and support businesses. One would hope that with Trump, Priebus, Ryan, and Walker all pushing for it, Wisconsin stands a pretty decent shot.


2035, 09 July 2017


  1. Jason

    It’s the ultimate irony, no? 15 years ago Motorola had a large campus in Harvard IL and several others in Northeastern IL. They offshored / outsourced everything rather than innovate their product lineup. Foxconn was one of those outsourcers. Maybe Foxconn should buy the old Motorola facility, I hear it’s still for sale.

  2. billphoto

    Personally, I think this whole ‘Foxconn is coming to Wisconsin’ is just blowing smoke.  Wisconsin does not have the workforce pool necessary to support their business model.  Until Wisconsin can start to educate our children with basic skills for this century, this will never change.

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