Racine Mayor Cory Mason
Op Ed

Foxconn Deal Will Help My City

Democratic mayor of Racine sees big benefits for the people he serves.

By - Jun 28th, 2018 01:15 pm
Design for Foxconn's campus. Photo from the WEDC.

Design for Foxconn’s campus. Photo from the WEDC.

As news outlets and political pundits anxiously await the groundbreaking on Foxconn’s Racine County manufacturing facility, in the City of Racine, we are already starting to see how Foxconn’s unprecedented investment will benefit local residents and families.

As the Mayor of Racine, I have two key priorities regarding Foxconn: (1) make sure Racine residents are well-positioned to pursue jobs tied to public and private development projects throughout the area; and (2) ensure that we protect Lake Michigan, our greatest natural resource. I’m proud to say that last week we made progress on both fronts.

In terms of workforce development, last week I was joined by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen, County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht, and other local and state officials to announce Racine Works, a $1.5 million workforce training program that will help train City of Racine residents for public and private construction job opportunities tied to Foxconn and other projects throughout our community. This partnership between the City, the County, the Department of Workforce Development, UMOS, and the Gateway Foundation will enable us to boost existing efforts and enhance their focus on City of Racine residents. In addition to workforce training, the Racine Works program will help ensure local hiring for publicly funded projects.

We have organizations that are already doing great work in this space. First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship, WRTP/BIG STEP, UMOS, and local building trades are preparing people for job opportunities. Because of Foxconn and the related development projects, we need to ramp up our efforts. Encouraging businesses, developers, and contractors to hire from Racine is meaningless if we don’t invest the dollars in the training needed to make sure we have skilled workers available to hire. That’s what Racine Works is all about. Through the program and its investment, we will go from training dozens of Racine workers to training hundreds.

We are anticipating more than $100 million in Racine Water Utility work tied to water infrastructure projects for the Foxconn project alone. Thanks to the Racine Works program, we will be able to ensure that City residents have the skill needed for these jobs, and that contractors will have trained workers to hire from within the City.

My other priority is ensuring that our greatest natural asset, Lake Michigan, is protected. As Mayor, I am responsible for protecting Lake Michigan with the City’s Water and Wastewater Utility. I have made it clear on several occasions that we will ensure that Foxconn will have to meet or beat every federal, state, and local water discharge standard. We made great strides last week when Foxconn announced that it is investing $30 million in a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system that will allow it to dramatically reduce the facility’s water intake requirements from Lake Michigan and when operational, eliminate the return of any industrial wastewater to the lake.

By using this technology, Foxconn will reduce its intake of water by more than 3.5 million gallons per day, down to 2.5 million gallons per day. The ZLD system eliminates industrial wastewater by distilling it, allowing the company to recycle, recover, and re-use it. The only water that will not be recycled will be the domestic wastewater that is normally discharged from any commercial or residential facility and the water evaporating from the cooling systems.

Foxconn is committing to modify its facility in order to protect – at an even higher level than before – our greatest natural resource, Lake Michigan. Few manufacturing facilities in the United States have adopted ZLD systems and I appreciate Foxconn’s investment in environmental sustainability.

Foxconn is breaking ground in Racine County. I am doing everything in my power to ensure that the opportunities and growth that it brings will have a positive impact for our city. I know that Racine residents work hard, and given the opportunities and training, they will succeed. I also know that Lake Michigan is one of our greatest resources, and it is incumbent on us to protect it. There are challenges to overcome, and there is work to be done, but I believe that the arrival of Foxconn creates the best opportunity in my lifetime to rebuild our middle class and build a stronger community for all of us.

Cory Mason is the mayor of the City of Racine.

11 thoughts on “Op Ed: Foxconn Deal Will Help My City”

  1. michael says:

    Deals done. Now, it’s time to make the most of it. Would love to see the KRM project re-ignited. At the very least, the seemingly always oversold Amtrak Hiawatha desperately needs more frequency already, and definitely if were going to connect mke & chi workforces with these jobs, without creating a traffic carmageddon each morning.

  2. PMD says:

    Robots will replace 80% of workers within 5-10 years and the state won’t see a profit until 2042 at the soonest. Could be later. The deal looks worse every day.

  3. Troll says:

    This is one of those articles that surprises me that Urban Milwaukee would share. A positive Foxconn story and by a Democrat. I smell recall.

  4. PMD says:

    Cause you have a narrow mind. Obviously.

  5. Aggie says:

    Interesting that everyone want to talk about the incredible water saving plan, but no one wants to discuss the fact that they are just building a much smaller plant. The plant that they promised WI, and gave Walker a tour of, was a Gen10.5 plant capable of making large screens for TV’s and instead they are building a Gen6 plant that will make small scale screens like tablets, etc… Not only is this plant literally a small fraction of the size and cost, but it no longer necessitates having support facilities nearby for items like the glass. Now all of the components can be manufactured in other states or countries and shipped here for the robots to assemble. Looks like we may still need the Harley plant after all.

  6. Duane Snyder says:

    Of course this is good for Racine, does anyone doubt that? But what about the rest of the state and the $4B cost, let alone the environmental risks.

    Noticed the story in the Journal today that the initial plant (phase 1) will be Gen 6 not Gen 10.5, meaning that the display size will not be 65-75 inches but no greater than 39 inches. (Plant size for Gen 6 is much smaller than Gen 10). The sticking point is the Corning glass plant, it has to be located near the manufacturing sight for the bigger sizes. Corning will not foot the bill to build the plant on it’s own, they stated they will only pay a third of the cost (total cost of a 10.5 glass plant opened in China was around $1.3B).

    FoxConn says phase 2 will follow after this. Who knows what to believe.

  7. Eric J. says:

    -New jobs in Racine county at above minimum wage rates is a good thing.
    -It’s just that Walker gave Foxconn way too many state dollars for those jobs.
    -With all of Trumps presumed dealmaking finesse , Walker went it alone gave away the store.
    -The Art of A Bad deal here.

  8. Tom says:

    PMD is correct. FoxConn CEO Terry Gou just announced that automated smart robots will replace 80% of FoxConn workforce by 2025.

    Couple of random facts:

    – In addition to flat-screen TVs and devices, FoxConn also manufacturers smart robots. They call them “Foxbots.”

    – If the WI facility is ever finished, FoxConn only promised 3,000 jobs (with the *possibility* of 13,000 in the future – not 15,000 that the president is touting). Considering the smart robot announcement 13,000 sounds like a fantasy.

    – Nearly $4.5 Billion in state and municipal wealth has been donated to the project. The state of WI contributed 3 Billion and the surrounding area municipalities contributed 1.4 Billion to this project.

    – FoxConn just announced a 15% reduction in staff in a factory in Taiwan. 10,000 *inexpensive* laborers just lost their jobs. The average salary for an american employee is substantially higher.

    – In 2017 FoxConn replaced *inexpensive* 60,000 Chinese employees with robots/Foxbots.

  9. old baldy says:

    For those of us in northern WI this deal is strictly a drain on our $$ for a long time. Can anyone tell me how Foxconn will be of any value to those in Florence, Ladysmith, Spooner? I asked our Senator Toxic Tom Tiffany and he wouldn’t answer. I am predicting a significant voter backlash come November.

  10. Eric J. says:

    Walker could have had the casino in Kenosha, created about 3000 new jobs and not cost anyone upstate a penny.
    – ( Except one minor lawsuit easily won by Trump style big city lawyers )

  11. michael says:

    @Old Baldy. It’s a total boondoggle. The big winner – as usual – are Waukesha county construction companies.

    I think most MKE residents are (or should be) concerned that this is used as a platform to hammer through a bunch of ridiculous & neighborhood destroying highway expansions (extending 794, widening 94) and – my worst nightmare – a completely unnecessary airport expansion with corresponding lengthening of runways to accommodate bigger jets (of course, those big jets are ridiculously loud and would fly directly over the most population dense portions of city, with no recourse to the hundreds of thousands of negatively impacted residents).

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