Juan Manuel Carreras
State of San Luis Potosí
View from the Top

Automotive A Major Driver for Job Creation

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:29

Q: How has the automotive industry in San Luis Potosi helped boost jobs and benefits for the state?

A: A hundred years ago, nobody would have thought that the automotive industry would be one of the main engines of the world economy at the beginning of the 21st century. Not only does this apply to OEMs but to the whole supply chain and domestic sales as well. The automotive industry is a very important sector for San Luis Potosi. It is highly valued because it constantly develops research and technology and continues to be a great employment generator. The automotive industry generated 16,463 new jobs in 24 months by July 2017. Almost the same number of jobs were created in the six years spanning 2003 to 2009. Growing employment is reflected in the population’s salary contribution to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), which has increased significantly since automotive investments arrived. This also makes it one of the industries for which we see the greatest future in our local economy.

Q: What factors have attracted companies to the state over other automotive clusters?

A: San Luis Potosi is part of Mexico’s northwestern region but it is next to many Bajio states, making it one of the most dynamic areas in the country. It is an important platform for those that export to North America, with strong transportation links and connections with states that also participate in the automotive industry, such as Guanajuato, Queretaro and Aguascalientes. Moreover, there has not been a strike here in 14 years. This illustrates the good communication between the government and industry.

Q: How is the state helping develop human capital and industry-targeted education?

A: We are trying to link middle schools with dual education models that involve learning at school complemented by real-life training focused on preparing students to join the labor market. Higher education in the state is well served, with excellent public and polytechnic universities, as well as a state-of-the-art technology university that starts classes in August 2017. Our goal is to offer an education that covers the entire manufacturing industry, including the automotive sector. This new university will also operate a dual model so young people can combine study and real-life work experience.

The Consortium of Molds, Dies and Tooling (MTH) will be inaugurated in San Luis Potosi to provide training and mold manufacturing and to coordinate with other facilities to make molds on request for companies. It will be the only center of its type in the country and will grow according to the needs of companies in the industry. This was made possible thanks to an initial investment of over MX$100 million (US$5,676,000).

Q: How are automotive companies and government working together to improve the state’s competitiveness?

A: Many companies have internal development programs and we try to support these locally through our research systems. The government has agreements with specific companies to improve their operations and to train people effectively.

I had the opportunity to visit several automotive companies’ operations abroad, where I met Mexican workers fulfilling periods of training at flagship plants. Some of these training sessions lasted three to six months or even more depending on the skills needed here in Mexico.

Many of those recruits were between 24 and 32 years old and many were from San Luis Potosi. They told us the automotive industry had offered them chances their parents would not have had a generation ago. These experiences give young people expertise and professional characteristics that provide more opportunities for them to grow in their careers. This also increases their longterm quality of life.