- Foxconn Technology Group, contractor Gilbane Building Co. and design partner Exyte — formerly M+W Group — have awarded an additional $34 million of construction contracts for Foxconn's $10 billion LCD screen manufacturing complex in Racine County, Wisconsin.
- The five contractors, all located in Wisconsin and set to start site, road and storm drainage work for the advanced manufacturing facility immediately are Giles Engineering Associates (Waukesha); Staff Electric Co. (Menomonee Falls); Hoffman Construction (Black River Falls); A.W. Oakes & Sons (Racine); and Payne & Dolan (Waukesha).
- Foxconn said it will be holding a series of public information meetings in April to answer questions about how local contractors can participate in future phases of the project. The first bid packages for construction of the plant and ancillary buildings are scheduled to be released in May.
After questions arose earlier this year around how solid Foxconn was in its commitment to building the Wisconsin manufacturing facility, the company reiterated its intentions to stick with its original plan and said it would break ground on the plant this year.
Alarm bells went off in the Wisconsin business community in January when the company announced it had not met its first scheduled hiring goals, causing it to miss out on a $9 million portion of the $3 billion in incentives the state agreed to pay in order to get the company to build in Wisconsin. This forced Foxconn to deny rumors that it had changed its plans in favor of building a technology hub staffed by Chinese workers or that U.S.-China trade tensions were delaying factory construction.
Despite the drama, Foxconn has made progress on its Racine County complex with the completion of a 120,000-square-foot multipurpose administration building last year. The structure will serve as a base of operations for contractors during construction of the plant but will also be used by Foxconn research and development teams.
Wisconsin has been fairly aggressive with the use of incentives in bringing new business to the state. In fact, just this month, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. reportedly awarded Amazon up to $7.5 million in tax credits for building a $200 million distribution center in the state.
But some state business leaders have proposed expanding the use of incentives in order to draw more workers to the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Foundation has recommended several strategies for beefing up the state's workforce, and their suggestions include offering financial incentives for those workers in the highest demand.
The foundation also said the state should expand its youth apprenticeship programs to middle schools; enroll inmates close to their release dates in work readiness programs; offer assistance with housing, childcare and transportation; and make the state more welcoming for immigrants.