Racine County focuses on workforce development at Foxconn

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-25 23:13:45-04

It's a big week for Foxconn as it prepares for a groundbreaking ceremony that is expected to include President Donald Trump.

"We are really proud of the opportunity to have Racine County the focal point of the United States for at least a day," said Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave.

Groundbreaking for the massive project is Thursday but the Earth is already shifting under much of Racine County.

Trump is expected to be there to celebrate what he calls a win for American workers. Though a new Marquette University Law School Poll shows voters in Wisconsin are not convinced.

TODAY'S TMJ4 got an exclusive look at the Foxconn site that is about 20 miles south of Milwaukee.

The landscape is changing in Mount Pleasant. Earthmoving trucks now shape farm fields for Foxconn's new $10 billion home.

Delagrave knows there's a lot of work to be done here.

"One of the reasons we worked so hard to get Foxconn here is so we can lift everyone up here in Racine County," said Delagrave.

That includes Case I-H tractors made in Racine County. We sat in one as Delagrave talked about the huge opportunity for local businesses, contractors and workers.

"It's about creating opportunity for individuals, lifting everybody up, going from $18 dollars an hour to $25 dollars an hour or going from minimum wage to $18 an hour," said Delagrave. "Those are big advance for individuals that can really make a difference."

Delagrave says the county is investing millions in workforce training to help match jobs needed - with those who need or want a better paying job.

"Working with those individuals that have had barriers to employment, transportation, child-care single moms working with those individuals to make sure they have the employable skills," said Delagrave. "They're moving around a lot of dirt right now at this Foxconn facility. By the time it's all said and down this place will be big enough to hold 13 Lambeau fields."

Public opinion for the $4.5 billion in taxpayer support for the project still faces headwinds but Delagrave recalls a conversation he had with Foxconn's Chairman Terry Gou when he walked this land last year.

"He told me specifically, 'you don't understand Jonathan, this development will be pristine because we plan on being here for generations to come'," Delagrave said. 

A comment that knocked him back. 

"It did and just showed how serious they were at the time," he said. 

Racine County has launched a number of initiatives to help people get the job skills they need at