Apple boss Tim Cook announced the company is launching a $1 billion fund to help create advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
In an interview broadcast by CNBC on Wednesday, May 3, Cook said the fund would help the tech giant to be “the ripple in the pond, because if we can create many manufacturing jobs, those manufacturing jobs create more jobs around them because you have a service industry that builds up around them.”
The move follows repeated calls by President Trump for American firms to return manufacturing jobs to home soil from locations overseas, though Cook gave no indication that his company would be setting up a large manufacturing operation in the U.S. to produce Apple products. At the present time the Cupertino, California-based company makes only the Mac Pro in its own back yard, while the vast majority of its products continue to be produced in China at facilities with far cheaper operating costs than in the U.S.
But Apple’s $1 billion fund may be seen as part of a strategy to help it get on the right side of the Trump administration, giving it more power to call for concessions to help its business operations. Issues currently of concern to Apple and other corporations include, for example, the government’s recent decision to suspend the expedited processing of H-1B visas that allow for the speedy recruitment of highly skilled workers from overseas, while the Trump administration could also offer more favorable conditions to encourage U.S. firms to bring home large amounts of revenue currently held in foreign banks. Of Apple’s $256.8 billion cash pile, 93 percent is held overseas.
In Wednesday’s interview, the Apple chief also commented on related matters, saying his company is looking “deeply” at how it can grow its employee, developer, and manufacturing base. It’s also developing initiatives to get more Americans coding and creating software, details of which will be announced over the summer.
Cook said he’s often asked if he believes it’s a company’s job to create jobs. “My response is a company should have values because a company is a collection of people. And people should have values, so by extension, a company should. And one of the things you do is give back,” he told CNBC, adding, “So how do you give back? We give back through our work in the environment, in running the company on renewable energy. We give back in job creation.”
Cook said Apple’s plan for its $1 billion fund is already in place and he promised to reveal full details later this month.
Apple isn’t the only tech player to recently invest in helping create jobs at home. Amazon, for example, has promised to create 100,000 new full-time positions by summer 2018 and Intel is putting $7 billion into an Arizona chip plant.
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