Foxconn started building its factory, but what does that mean for jobs here?

Photo from Foxconn Technology Group

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RACINE, WI – With two buildings — the one on Globe Drive and a multi-purpose building on Highway KR — already built, that’s really a drop in the bucket for the 22-million square-foot manufacturing campus Foxconn Technology Group will construct.

This week, however, the vertical construction of a 1 million-square-foot building got underway. Expected to be completed in 2020, the facility will be home to its pre-fab panel facility. That means more jobs are on the way. But with these high-tech jobs, comes high-tech thinking, says Marie Watkins, owner of Polaris Talent.

“There’s kind of two changes that are going to be coming,” Watkins said. “There’s going to be the actual physical tangible changes. there’s buildings, there’s jobs, there’s people there’s traffic. And then there’s the more intangibles of how it’s going to change the thinking and the access to knowledge and the globalization of thought and the sort of democratization that technology brings.”

And that is a whole different beast than making motors and bending metal. Watkins, whose company has offices in Silicon Valley and in Racine, grew up in Racine but spent most of her adult life in Silicon Valley. She highlights the cultural differences in how high-tech companies operate and how employees need to bring on their courage when working for these firms.