Foxconn Technology Group employees have begun working out of Gateway Technical College’s SC Johnson iMet Technology Center in Sturtevant, just miles from a potential site for the company’s massive LCD plant.
[caption id="attachment_329368" align="alignright" width="300"] Gov. Scott Walker signs the Foxconn legislation into law at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant.[/caption]
The company has 40 people working from the facility helping to lay the groundwork for a planned 20 million-square-foot facility. The employees were previously working out of Milwaukee and have been at the iMet center for about two weeks, according to Debbie Davidson, Gateway vice president for business and workforce solutions.
“We’ve done this with other companies,” she said, noting that when United Natural Foods Inc. was building its distribution center nearby, a team worked out of the Gateway facility.
The facility is the same one where Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill on Monday setting up $3 billion in incentives for the company to build a $10 billion LCD panel manufacturing campus. An announcement about a location isn’t expected until October, but much of the attention has focused on part Mount Pleasant, south of Highway 11 and just east of I-94.
Members of Gov. Scott Walker’s administration had indicated during public hearings, also held at the facility, that the company already had people working in the state and had racked up hundreds of hotel nights.
Whether those jobs will begin counting toward the $1.5 billion in tax credits Foxconn will earn for job creation remains to be seen. The company and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. are still negotiating the final contract for the incentives. All of WEDC’s contracts include a certification date and determining that date is part of contract negotiations, WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said in an email.
The iMet center is also the facility Gateway plans to expand to accommodate the job training needs of Foxconn and other area companies. The college’s board on Thursday gave initial approval to a $6.2 million plan to expand the facility.
The center currently has capacity for around 700 students per semester. The college plans to spend $5 million for a 29,375-square-foot addition that would add 1,000 students to the center’s capacity. The Joint Finance Committee added $5 million to the amount available for grants to local governments, bringing the total to $15 million, and expanded the definition to include technical colleges.
Once a final site is announced for Foxconn's facility, Gateway would be able to apply for the funding through the state Department of Administration.
Another $1.2 million would go toward adding 109 parking spaces and renovating more than 8,000 square feet of the iMet center. Funding for that portion of the project would come from borrowing by the Gateway Technical College District.