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Foxconn

Foxconn executive Louis Woo told business leaders recently he wants “Wisconn Valley” in Racine County to rival California’s Silicon Valley within 10 years. The company announced a partnership with UW-Milwaukee on Thursday.

Foxconn Technology Group will partner with UW-Milwaukee to send engineering students abroad for a semester to work in one of the company’s Taiwanese facilities, the company announced Thursday.

A similar program could be in the works for UW-Madison students.

A collaboration between the UW–Madison Carbone Cancer Center, UW Health and Foxconn will explore standards of care and cancer treatments that may include an exchange with the National Taiwan University Cancer Center, UW-Madison spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said.

Another potential partnership: UW-Madison’s College of Engineering and the School of Medicine and Public Health are looking to collaborate with Foxconn on the development of intelligent health-care devices and systems, including machine-learning-enabled disease detection and smart hospital systems, McGlone said.

Additional details on UW-Madison’s partnerships with Foxconn were not immediately available Thursday.

UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank said last summer that she met with Foxconn officials “to illustrate the advantages of having an internationally ranked research partner like the University of Wisconsin-Madison nearby.”

Foxconn has pledged to build a $10 billion manufacturing campus in Racine County that would employ up to 13,000 people. Over all, public costs for the project could reach $4.5 billion.

In February, the company announced Milwaukee will serve as its North American headquarters.

“We were a good fit to be the best one to get this first program launched,” Brett Peters, dean of UW-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, told the Wisconsin State Journal. “(Engineering) is a very high priority for Foxconn.”

Foxconn and the college will select five engineering students this fall to spend some time in the Racine County facility. In February, the students will travel to Taiwan and study language and culture at Chung Yuan Christian University. The students will also work on research projects involving advanced liquid crystal display panels technology at a Taiwanese facility through June.

Peters said Foxconn’s choice for UW-Milwaukee as its initial “preferred partner” had to do with location, the college’s connections to the industry, the university’s already existing relationship with the Taiwan university and a similar international co-op offered in Shanghai with Rockwell Automation.

UW-Milwaukee’s co-op program eventually could be expanded to other colleges and universities in Wisconsin, university officials said.

As Foxconn aims to expand its Wisconsin workforce over the next decade, universities across the state have discussed potential partnerships with company representatives, though most are still in the planning stages.

“In terms of partnerships/agreements between UW-Parkside and Foxconn, there are no announcements at this time,” said university spokesman John Mielke.

Milwaukee School of Engineering spokeswoman JoEllen Burdue said Foxconn is interested in the school’s work within computer science and artificial intelligence, though “nothing has been finalized.”

Marquette University hosted on-campus interviews with Foxconn representatives for jobs and internships last fall, said university spokesman Chris Jenkins. He added that the university held a Foxconn technology showcase that brought in about 700 people.

“We were a good fit to be the best one to get this first program launched.” Brett Peters,
dean, UW-Milwaukee
College of Engineering & Applied Science

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