A Guest Column by Matt Moroney, Strategic Economic Initiatives Director, Wisconsin Department of Administration
As the state’s Director of Strategic Economic Initiatives, I am honored to have the opportunity to help Wisconsin maximize the tremendous opportunities that Foxconn’s $10 billion investment will bring to every corner of the state.
As the father of two school-age kids, I believe strongly that these opportunities will result in a stronger and more prosperous state not just for them, but for their peers and an entire generation of future workers who have new reasons to stay, develop their talents and build their adult lives right here in Wisconsin.
Make no mistake: Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin is historic, it’s happening, and it’s exciting.
Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin is historic.
With 13,000 jobs and a capital investment of $10 billion, this is by far the largest economic development project that our state has ever seen. In addition to the 13,000 Foxconn jobs, construction of the facility alone will support tens of thousands of direct and indirect construction jobs over the next four years across the state.
Wisconsin won Foxconn in large part due to the state’s strong manufacturing legacy, talented workforce, strong business climate, and world-class educational institutions that are stepping up to equip our workforce with the skills needed to build careers in the technology of the future – right here in Wisconsin! Additionally, Foxconn will draw talent from across the nation and globe, making Wisconsin a “brain gain” state that keeps more of our own graduates and attracts other millennials to opportunities here.
Construction is happening.
Less than one year after the first meeting between Chairman Terry Gou and Governor Scott Walker, site excavation work began. That’s more than seven months ahead of Foxconn’s anticipated construction start date. So far, around 500,000 cubic yards of earth have already been moved from the site and soon 1,000 loads of aggregate per day will be hauled in. Companies from Black River Falls, Brownsville, Racine, Marathon and more are benefitting from this work.
The June 28 groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the construction of the first building: a 120,000 square-foot multipurpose building that is being developed by companies in Appleton, Butler, Schofield and several other communities throughout Wisconsin.
In fact, 35 of the first 36 project contracts for the project have been awarded to Wisconsin companies, covering workers in 60 of the state’s 72 counties. This is because Foxconn is actively pursuing a “Wisconsin First” commitment in its construction practices.
Foxconn’s impact is exciting.
Foxconn is bringing the future of manufacturing and innovative advanced technology to the U.S. and Wisconsin will be the leader. Our state will not only lead in manufacturing 4.0, but it will also become a leader in research and development for these advanced technologies.
What is particularly exciting is Foxconn’s recent announcement of the Wisconn Valley Innovation Centers in downtown Milwaukee and Green Bay, which will be collaborative workspaces for startup companies and entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions and applications for the AI 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is creating.
Foxconn’s ripple impact to existing Wisconsin companies will also be historic. It is estimated that Foxconn will spend approximately $1.4 billion in Wisconsin supplier purchases annually. To put that into perspective, Oshkosh Corp made nearly $300 million in purchases from more than 700 Wisconsin-based companies in 140 communities throughout Wisconsin. Foxconn’s impact will be four times that. Wow!
This historic investment in the future of Wisconsin is one that the whole state can be proud of. Foxconn chose to invest in Wisconsin, and the positive impact will reach every corner of our great state for generations to come.