Sunday, July 10, 2005

Health care, education, offer competitive advantage

Mike the Mad Biologist finds this nugget:
[Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association] said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.

In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.

"Most people don't think of our health-care system as being a competitive advantage," he said.

Tanguay said Toyota's decision on where to build its seventh North American plant was "not only about money."

"It's about being in the right place," he said, noting the company can rely on the expertise of experienced Cambridge workers to help get Woodstock up and running.
To those that doubt the value of a quality educational system, look no farther for evidence.

And to those who think national health care would make America less competitive, think again. Alabama and Mississippi couldn't offer incentives large enough to outweigh the higher costs of training and providing health insurance for employees there.