The planned Foxconn factory in Racine County will be the largest development deal in Wisconsin history. Company and state officials say the facility, which will make LCD screens, could employ as many as 10,000 people and has the potential to transform the local economy.
But with promises and predictions, have come questions: Who stands to benefit from the jobs? What impact will the factory have on local taxes? How will the environment be impacted?
Those questions were addressed, as well as others, in a community conversation held by WUWM and the Journal Sentinel. Across The Divide: A Critical Conversation on Next Steps for Foxconn took place November 15 at The Prairie School in Wind Point.
Moderators Mitch Teich, of WUWM's Lake Effect, and Journal Sentinel's Erin Richards were joined by panelists:
- Richard Longworth, a distinguished fellow on global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Longworth, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, is the author of “Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism” (Bloomsbury USA 2009).
- Deborah Davidson, vice president, workforce and economic development, Gateway Technical College, Kenosha. Deborah has been closely involved in discussions about worker training as the region prepares for a factory that could one day employ up to 13,000 people.
- John Dickert, president and CEO of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative). John was a three-term mayor of Racine until resigning earlier this year to take the position with the Cities Initiative. Before becoming mayor, he worked for First Weber Group focusing on commercial and residential redevelopment.
Foxconn was offered a spot on our panel but declined to make a representative available.