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Reporter Not Surprised By Foxconn Changes

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Foxconn says the jobs it plans to create at the huge plant it's building in Racine County will be focused mostly on research and development, not manufacturing. 

READ: Foxconn Promises LCD Screen Plant; Number Of Manufacturing Jobs Unclear

When Scott Walker was governor in 2017 he touted the LCD screen manufacturing plant as a "once in a generation" opportunity. State and local officials provided more than $4 billion in tax incentives for the Taiwanese electronics giant, which promised to create up to 13,000 jobs. Then last summer, President Donald Trump presided over the groundbreaking ceremony in Mount Pleasant.

But, Foxconn confirmed Wednesday that 75 percent of the jobs will be in research and development instead of manufacturing, citing a changing global marketplace. Foxconn opponents quickly renewed their criticism and voiced concerns that the deal might not pan out for taxpayers.

Milwaukee Business Journal Reporter Sean Ryan says he's not surprised by the announcement.  He says the company started indicating last summer that it would shift away from assembly-heavy work at the Mount Pleasant plant and move toward research and development, in response to market demands.

Ryan says the contract the state signed with Foxconn still stands and the company insists that up to 13,000 jobs will still be created at the plant. Now that the focus has changed, some of those research and development jobs could be spread around to other Foxconn locations across the state.  

Ryan says Gov. Evers administration will continue to work and communicate with Foxconn, going forward.  And, don't be surprised if more changes in the scope of the Mount Pleasant project are announced in the future. 

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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