the last few years, with the unemployment rate steadily registering 3 percent or lower in nin
e months, which made it difficult for companies to look for workers, let alone skilled ones or engineers.
Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, s
aid that the association has about 3,800 members, half of which are m
anufacturing companies. Around 80 percent of the members have seen a labor shortage in one way or another.
Ian Robertson, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison college of Engineering, said the college has 800 gr
aduates every year. They have about 6,000 job opportunities to choose from, most of which are outside of the state.
To meet the demand for engineers, the college plans to expand their enrollment from around 4,500 t
o 5,200 in the next few years. But after graduation, how many of the students will be hired by Foxconn is hard to say.
Robertson said many companies in need of engineers tend to build long-term relationships wit
h the university by establishing labs and offering internships. “Foxconn is just one of them,” he said.