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Walker signs Foxconn legislation

Gov. Scott Walker today signed into law the Foxconn Technology Group bill passed by the state Legislature last week.

The legislation provides up to $3 billion in incentives for Foxconn, which plans to build a $10 billion, 20 million-square-foot LCD panel campus in Wisconsin. It is expected to initially create 3,000 and eventually 13,000 jobs.

A site still has not been announced for the Foxconn development, but Walker said he expected the company will announce the site between now and the first week of October, when the formal contract is signed with Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Walker said the contract will also contain more tools to tighten up the job promises, including laying out specific salaries.

There were no Foxconn representatives at today’s bill signing, which took place at Gateway Technical College’s iMet Center in Sturtevant.

“Not only in southeast Wisconsin, we can see this is going to be a benefit all across the state,” Walker said. “This is about ensuring that our children and our children’s children will have really those generational type opportunities.”

Stephanie Sklba, vice president of community and government relations at Gateway Technical College, revealed that Gateway president Bryan Albrecht is on his way to meet with Foxconn representatives.

“Southeast Wisconsin truly has the opportunity to lead the world in advanced manufacturing,” she said. “So in fact today, president Albrecht boarded a plane to Japan to begin that important work.”

Walker thanked WEDC CEO Mark Hogan; Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel; former WEC Energy Group CEO Gale Klappa; GE Healthcare; technical and higher education institutions; and economic development organizations across Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee 7, for helping the deal come to fruition. Walker also thanked the Milwaukee Bucks, and Bucks president Peter Feigin was in attendance.

Walker just returned from a trade mission to Japan and South Korea, where he helped Wisconsin companies establish business relationships with companies in Asia. While on the trip, everyone he met with—even Foxconn competitor Samsung—congratulated him on the Foxconn deal, Walker said.

“I’m proud to say that not only will these LCD panels be made for the first time in America, they’ll be made here in the great state of Wisconsin,” Walker said.

Ecosystems like this one attract not only employers and talent, but also venture capital investors that want to invest in the startup opportunities associated with the development, he said.

Walker expressed confidence Foxconn would live up to its promises for its Wisconsin operations. He challenged those present, including Greater Milwaukee Committee president Julia Taylor, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce president Tim Sheehy and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, to assure that Wisconsin is ready for the development.

The governor described the workforce development effort surrounding Foxconn as a “rebranding” of the state to attract talent and shift from a brain drain to a brain gain.

“We cannot have this be a matter of taking jobs from some employers to fill others,” he said, but must be a net gain of new jobs.

Read the article here.

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