Wednesday, May 12, 2004

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The Campbellsville comeback

Christopher Miller has an interesting article in the Bowling Green Daily News about how the town of Campbellsville, Kentucky responded to the 1997-98 decision by Fruit of the Loom to offshore production:

At that time, Fruit of the Loom let 3,200 jobs go overseas to save costs at its plant in Taylor County, with a population of 22,000.

Instead of giving up, the city pulled together. The town has since added 13 new employers, including More than 3,700 jobs have been created from those employers and expansions from others.

Read the article to see how the town pulled this off.

A hint -- education and insourcing are involved.

posted by Dan on 05.12.04 at 12:11 PM


Interesting -- it sounds like a lot of the comeback was due to the former Fruit of the Loop factory getting an Army contract to supply underwear (part of that manufacturing base that we supposedly don't need). I wonder if this is part of the DOD implicit Buy American requirements?

posted by: Ken on 05.12.04 at 12:11 PM [permalink]

Read an online blog entry recently (can't remember where) by a guy who worked for an IT firm in a semi-rural/ex-urban area of sorts. During the 90s (which had more outsourcing that people seem to remember) his firm was considering offshoring some software development, maintenance, and operational work to India.

This didn't sit well with the guy at all, so he came up with an alternative - outsource to local high-school kids. This worked rather well, as kids today tend to be remarkably computer literate, and the software they used was so completely proprietary and unusual that what was valuable to them was not general IT knowledge but experience with their product.

Long story short - the company saved money as compared to their other outsourcing contracts, and high school kids got valuable training and made as much as their Indian competitors - which was a fortune as far as high school kids go.

Worth doing, I'd say.

posted by: Jonas Cord on 05.12.04 at 12:11 PM [permalink]

A hint -- education and insourcing are involved.

Dan, why do you spend so much effort sticking your tongue out at opponents of offshoring, instead of joining us in calls for more insourcing and worker retraining? Clearly you see the importance of those concepts to the maintenance of the national economy. And (your isolated anecdotes of miniscule job returns notwithstanding), they aren't happening.

posted by: Keith Tyler on 05.12.04 at 12:11 PM [permalink]

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