DESEC: Chihuahua develops talent amid nearshoring boom

2 DESEC: Chihuahua develops talent amid nearshoring boom

CHIHUAHUA, Mexico , June 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Chihuahua City, the capital of the northern Mexican state of the same name, has become a reference point for exports, thanks to the arrival of major multinational companies 50 years ago. It is now leveraging the nearshoring boom to develop talent and sophisticate its economy.

While Mexico has lost 3.2% of its maquiladora jobs over the past seven months due to a slowdown in the U.S. economy, Chihuahua has maintained a positive trend anchored in the relocation of production chains, with export employment growing by 4.4% over the same period.

René Espinoza Terrazas, president of Index Chihuahua, told EFE that the city’s success in attracting more export jobs lies in the unity of the industrial sector, as well as in the consolidation of talent and physical infrastructure and improve the quality of life for its residents.

“The industry brings great development for the workforce. You certify an operator, and they achieve that level. Previously, the jobs were repetitive with no development, but now you can see people with certifications and a better standard of living,” Espinoza said.

According to Espinoza, Chihuahua has become a hub for the aerospace industry with companies like Textron Aviation, BELL, Honeywell, EZ AIR-Embraer, and Bombardier, as well as major auto parts manufacturers, led by a plant that makes engines for the car company Ford.

The 106 export maquiladora plants currently operating generate 93,000 jobs and, in 2023, sent exports worth $10 billion, mostly to the United States. José Luis Rodulfo Mercado, former director of the Maquiladora Association, said that in the 1960s, the city was primarily agro-industrial, livestock, and construction with Cementos de Chihuahua. The arrival of the maquiladora industry introduced a work culture that has persisted since then.

Conrado Rolón Hinojosa, a founding partner of the maquiladora group, explained that this export talent has been developing for 50 years since transnationals began operating in Mexico following the success in Ciudad Juárez with the National Border Program, which aimed to employ a wave of Mexicans returning from the U.S.

Located 380 kilometers (236 miles) from the U.S. border, the state expects the arrival of three more investments agreed upon during the Paris Air Show 2023 and has its sights set on companies in the electromobility sector, for which it already has talent graduating from its technical schools and universities.


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