When the President of the United States visits a factory, that's news. But there was even more to President Obama's trip to Master Lock's Milwaukee plant -- there was talk of jobs.
After recognizing Master Lock several times in recent months for moving some jobs from China back to the United States, President Obama visited Milwaukee last week led a discussion on jobs and the economy.
"It was an honor to host President Obama in Milwaukee and to give him a first-hand look at the jobs that Master Lock has returned to the U.S.," said John Heppner, Master Lock president and CEO. "As an American manufacturing company, we are proud of our efforts to insource jobs and look forward to further helping improve the climate for U.S. manufacturing through continued dialogue with the government, educational institutions and fellow businesses."
Master Lock has brought back from overseas about 100 union jobs to its Milwaukee factory, the company said.
Heppner was part of a White House forum held in January, a forum during which he alluded to the challenge of skilled labor in North America. "The number of young people exposed to skilled labor trades through education or family and friends is declining while our current skilled labor workforce is aging," he said.
The company said it is partnering with local technical colleges and universities to promote and courage skilled labor training.
Also, the supply chain structure in North America needs innovation, Heppner stressed during the forum. "We will continue to explore opportunities to improve efficiencies and productivity, resulting in additional skilled labor jobs in the future," Heppner said.
Master Lock's decision to bring jobs back to the U.S. was partially motivated by economic reasons related to increasingly higher labor and logistics costs in Asia, and ongoing labor availability challenges -- especially in the coastal areas of China, the company said.