The White House announced this week that Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant, Foxconn, plans to invest $10 billion in a new manufacturing facility in Wisconsin – a big win, the White House says, for revitalizing the “Made in America” mantra and manufacturing jobs in the midwest. The 3,000 expected jobs from this development, though, won’t replace jobs for the area’s unemployed factory workers.
The skills gap is a larger issue than the reality of an aging skilled workforce leaving holes we currently don’t have enough workers to fill. Technology is rapidly changing industry needs, requiring a future workforce with more advanced engineering skills and ability to maintain robots that do the majority of the less skilled line work.
The 3,000 jobs Foxconn says it will create in Wisconsin aren’t the kind of manufacturing jobs that so many laid off auto and steel workers have been clamoring for.
From The Tech Skills Gap Will Test Foxconn’s New Wisconsin Factory, Wired Magazine
This reality emphasizes that the types of manufacturing jobs we will see in the future won’t be easily filled by industry workers of the past. While we may never see the return of the types of unskilled jobs being outsourced beyond American borders, we can build a workforce of highly-skilled workers that can’t be replaced by low-cost economies abroad.
How do we focus on the future and ensure success? It’s a question being asked in every board room and higher education administration office across the country right now. We need everyone “all in” – government, industry and education collaborating in unprecedented ways.