Here’s a quick glance around the web, bringing you a taste of the news you need to know this week.
Foxconn holding itself to high Wisconsin-first standard in new plant build
Foxconn—the multi-national electronics manufacturing company famed for making Blackberries, iPhones, Kindles, Xbox and more—is building a $10 billion new LCD screen manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, and has hired 27 Wisconsin companies for the $100 dirt-moving phase alone (!), which is slated to start this week. The goal, set by the electronics company and its lead contractors, is to use 60 percent Wisconsin companies and 70 percent Wisconsin workers on the entire project. The project is expected to create some 800 jobs for the Mt. Pleasant area.
When Tennessee construction deaths fall through cracks, state steps in
Tennessee saw 16 construction fatalities in 2016 and 2017, higher than in any other two-year stretch in the last three decades. Here’s where it gets worse: the combination of a new house-building boom and a labor shortage has caused contractors and subcontractors to casually hire “subs of subs” to come help them with jobs and don’t enforce safety regulations. These small operations often go on to disappear post-accident without paying a cent to the families of the deceased. The good news: the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration has investigated several of these situations and has fined some employers up to $13,500.
Teenage girls in Arkansas learn about construction careers
Some 200 girls from area middle and high schools flocked to the Northwest Arkansas Community College for the second annual Construction Career Conference for Young Women. This was twice the number of participants as last year. Organized by the community college and Rogers Public Schools Career and Technical Education Program, the conference consisted of four 20-minute break-out sessions and a four job-site tour. The girls also heard six female construction professionals speak during the lunch break, including two project managers. A seventh grader, Brooklynn Smith, said she always thought of construction workers as men, but the conference showed her differently. “Stereotypes can’t control your life,” she commented.
The porpoise of this study
Lots of wind farms have gone up in Europe as the emphasis on clean energy grows stronger: right now over 900 are in some stage of development, many right off the coast. Another thing Europeans place high value on: animal welfare. That’s why scientists from Germany, Denmark and the UK have built a model tool to predict what happens to marine animals when they’re exposed to noise like pile-driving from the construction and operation of windfarms at sea. Their case study for the model was the North Sea harbor porpoise, whose movements, foraging and energetics can now be observed in many different hypothetical scenarios.