Vice President Harris announces Nokia investment in Wisconsin electronics facility

Vice President Kamala Harris walks to talk to reporters before boarding Air Force Two as she departs Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Aug. 3 that Finnish multinational corporation Nokia will expand a manufacturing facility in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, in a move that the company predicts will create up to 200 new jobs. Nokia attributed its decision to a $42.45 billion broadband expansion program that was part of the 2021 infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden.

Nokia said it will partner with Sanmina, a U.S.-based electronics manufacturer, to expand Sanmina’s facility to manufacture fiber-optic broadband network electronics products and optical modules.

“Wisconsin, together, we are rebuilding America,” Harris said in remarks at the Sanmina facility. “Through Bidenomics, we are showing that when we invest in workers and families, when we create jobs and opportunity, when we roll up our sleeves and get to work, there is no limit to what we can achieve for Kenosha, for Wisconsin, and for our nation.”

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act, is a $42.45 billion effort to build and deploy broadband internet networks across all 50 states, U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C.

According to the Department of Commerce, production of Nokia’s equipment in Wisconsin will allow the company’s materials to qualify as “made in America,” a requirement of the program.

“By manufacturing fiber-optic technology in the U.S., Nokia will be able to supply its products and services to critical projects like BEAD that are focused on narrowing the digital divide, helping to further contribute to the nation’s economic growth and job creation,” Nokia said in a release.

The announcement of the Nokia-Sanmina collaboration follows other projects that have helped improve economic conditions in Wisconsin over the last two years.

The number of manufacturing jobs in the Kenosha area has increased by 2,000 since Biden took office in January 2021, according to the Department of Labor. The current total of 63,700 manufacturing jobs is the most in the area in two decades.

The overall unemployment rate in Wisconsin has decreased since Biden took office. In the June unemployment report from the Department of Labor, the rate was down to 2.5% from 4.6% in 2021. According to the White House, companies have announced $3 billion in manufacturing investments in Wisconsin since Biden took office, with an emphasis on clean energy and biomanufacturing, which is the process of breaking down waste for use in the production of new materials such as plastics and fuel.

The administration estimates that the infrastructure law, along with the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, will result in an additional $4.3 billion in public infrastructure and clean energy investments in Wisconsin, largely in the form of tax credits for companies in “green” businesses.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.