Yesterday Wisconsin Public Radio released a report that the Foxconn  Innovation Centers throughout the state are on hold, as Foxconn concentrates on their facilities in southeastern Wisconsin. Certainly this comes as no great surprise to anyone who has been following the development of the promised centers in Eau Claire. 

In July 2018 Foxconn announced the purchase of two buildings in Eau Claire, which were intended to be Innovation Centers. Promises were made of up to 200 jobs in the area associated with the centers. Only one of those facilities, 15,000 square feet of Haymarket Landing, was ever purchased. Progress at that building has been very slow, including a $2 million renovation of the HVAC system in the building. But other than some general facility upgrades, not much has happened here. According to Aaron White, Economic Development Manager for Eau Claire, 

That’s been about the extent of it, it’s pretty minimal,  We did get a visit from four Foxconn staffers and they reinforced their intent to move forward, but they gave no indication of a timeline.

The city is not out of any money on this deal, other than the fact that Foxconn has been holding part of a prime building development downtown and keeping it empty.

Development directors in the other cities have echoed the state in Eau Claire. None of the centers have had much in the way of development, and remain empty.  In Milwaukee, some work is being done, but it is not clear if this is on behalf of Foxconn or one of their tenants in the building. 

This is only one aspect of the continual vacillation of Foxconn on all of the developments in Wisconsin. The story of the function of the main facility in Mount Pleasant seems to change monthly, although recently a few announcements have been made for actual products that will be produced for other companies.

Meanwhile, the Learn and Earn program of the company continues to move forward as Foxconn hires students from colleges nearby the centers for development as Foxconn employees. In the Eau Claire area Foxconn has been recruiting students from Chippewa Valley Technical College. But with the continual uncertainty of Foxconn's plans in the state, it's not clear where these students will end up working, or what they will be doing.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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