Illustration by Scott Gordon and Kristian Knutsen

Series: Foxconn In Wisconsin

Wisconsin's deal with electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn has stirred up a mix of excitement and doubt. The state offered the Taiwan-based company about $3 billion in economic incentives and a waiver on a variety of environmental and other regulations to build a large LCD fabrication complex. In return, Foxconn touted the possibility of creating thousands of jobs and invigorating Wisconsin as a Midwestern tech hub. This type of manufacturing would place considerable demands on the state's natural resources, especially water, and can create significant pollution. The net effect of this deal will take years to emerge, but boosters and skeptics alike agree that a Foxconn footprint would have profound and complex implications for Wisconsin's future.
 
The confusion over Foxconn paints a picture of different ways politics and industrial development are conducted in China versus the United States.
Questions surround the types of jobs Foxconn requires: What levels of educational attainment or skills are needed? What are typical wages for these types of occupations? Are these jobs susceptible to replacement through automation or computerization?
The 10th anniversary of the Great Lakes Compact's creation comes at a time when the durability and effectiveness of the agreement are under close scrutiny.
Local and state officials in Illinois are beginning to worry about a force that could direct more water into the Des Plaines River: The large campus Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Foxconn is building in the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant.
Plans for the Foxconn development in Mount Pleasant to fill wetlands is raising concerns about the risk of floods along the Des Plaines River in Illinois. Scott Gordon of WisContext discusses what communities downstream from the factory site.
What are the prospects for legal challenges to various aspects of the state of Wisconsin's deal with Foxconn?
Wisconsin's decision to let Foxconn draw water from Lake Michigan may set a precedent for water use that resonates across the Great Lakes region and beyond.
Midwest Environmental Advocates is pursuing a legal action in opposition to Foxconn's proposed use of Lake Michigan water. Lawyer Jimmy Parra discusses the legal arguments related to the language of the Great Lakes Compact.
Supporting one high-profile Great Lakes diversion and opposing another might seem contradictory, but UW-Parkside geosciences professor John Skalbeck clearly sees no tension in his positions.
The question over where the Foxconn plant will draw its water from continues. UW-Parkside geosciences professor John Skalbeck said the application process to use Lake Michigan water differs from the diversion by Waukesha.