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Friday, December 02, 2005

Ford plant

They are only rumors at the moment, but there's whispering going on that the St. Paul Ford plant may be one of the plants that Ford will close when they make their big announcement in January. If this is true (and so far there isn't any confirmation yet), this would be a blow to the area. There are 2,000 high-paying union jobs with benefits at that plant, and losing them all at once would hurt a lot of people, more than just those who would lose their jobs.

Does the state have a role in this? The MPR article has Speaker Sviggum not ruling out a special session, with Dean Johnson a bit more cautious. I'm wary as well. Just throwing money and incentives at Ford does not sound like good policy; Northwest Airlines has been bailed out many times, and look where it has gotten us. I wouldn't rule out everything, but we need to face facts: the small trucks that are manufactured at that plant aren't selling well. To ignore business realities and just hand out money would only delay the inevitable.

This also illustrates why Minnesota needs to keep investing in education. These high-paying manufacturing jobs are disappearing all over the country. In order to ensure that the right kind of high-paying jobs come in to this state, we need an educated workforce. Otherwise, all we will get are low-paying service jobs.

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