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Mexico's Promise to Training Engineers Helps American Manufacturers

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Journalist in the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Many journalists have been ignoring the facts about Mexico for years. Mexico, they write, is a dangerous third-world nation whose citizens desperately want to immigrate to the United States to escape a poverty-stricken nation with few job opportunities.

Perhaps, more journalists should print the facts – Mexico has been remarkably stable economically and politically for a long time, it has a world-class infrastructure, and it is the site of offices and manufacturing plants owned by more than 70 Fortune 500 companies.

The Mexican government’s commitment to becoming a first-world nation is best reflected in its investment in improving the education and workplace skills of its citizens, particularly in the field of engineering.

“Mexico is now one of the top producers of engineers in the world,” Oscar Suchil, National Polytechnic Institute’s director of graduate affairs, told The Washington Post in an Oct. 28, 2012 article.

The Truth About Mexico

Here are some of the facts about Mexico’s commitment to and achievements in engineering and related fields:

* From 2006-2012, the six years of Felipe Calderon’s presidency, Mexico built 140 colleges and universities and 120 of those schools are focused on engineering and science. In 2012, Mexico had twice as many two- and four-year colleges and universities than it had in 2002.

* Mexico has almost as many students earning bachelor’s degrees in engineering as the U.S. although it has 115 million people, while the U.S. has 314 million people. In the latest years for which figures are available, Mexico had 75,575 students earning undergraduate engineering degrees in 2010, while the U.S. had 83,000 students earning the same degree in 2011, according to the American Society for Engineering Education, the United Nations and the CIA.

* About 130,000 Mexican citizens earn degrees in engineering and other technician-related subjects from universities and specialized high schools per year. This is more than Germany and Brazil, which has almost twice as many citizens as Mexico.

* Mexico’s commitment to engineering is so great that it is subsidizing the cost of education for engineering students. Tuition for the approximately 98,000 engineering students at the public National Polytechnic Institute is $12 per semester. The number of college scholarships nationwide doubled from 2006 through 2012.

Many Companies In Mexico

Mexico is changing so rapidly that about 30%  of Mexico’s citizens are in the middle class. By comparison, only about 40 percent of American citizens are in the middle class.

Mexico’s workforce is becoming so sophisticated that companies such as General Motors, Honeywell and Delphi employ hundreds of Mexican engineers in research & development (R&D) centers in Mexico, according to Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine.

MFI International, which has had manufacturing facilities on the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, side of the El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juarez border since 1982, has demonstrated how companies can utilize Mexican engineers to manufacture products such as auto parts, medical devices, mattress and furniture soft goods, among others products for MFI’s American clients. Engineers working for MFI work together on R&D and prototypes of new products that are eventually sold to American companies. MFI’s location also reduces transportation costs and time and, thus, expedites how quickly the products are brought to the market.

The relationship between MFI and its American clients is only part of a trend toward a greater trading relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. In 2011, trade between the two nations increased 17 percent and Mexico is closing in on becoming the USA’s second-largest trading partner, according to The Washington Post.

In fact, trade between the two nations has increased six fold since they signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, according to The Washington Post. Currently, 80 percent of Mexico’s exports go to the USA. That figure could increase as American companies hire more engineers at their Mexican subsidiaries.

“We constantly have major multinationals here trying to recruit dozens of engineers at a time,” said Alfredo Juarez, a director at the National Polytechnic Institute, told Businessweek.

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