AUSTIN (KXAN) — The newest generation of Apple’s Mac Pro computer will be made in Austin, the company announced Monday.
The company didn’t specify when the new computers would start to roll out, but said in a release it will “begin production soon at the same Austin facility where Mac Pro has been made since 2013.” As recently as June this year, the Wall Street Journal and others had reported Apple planned to manufacture it in China, as it does many of its other products.
The company unveiled the redesigned Mac Pro at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June with a price tag of $5,999. The computer includes components from more than a dozen American companies.
Apple said it can build its computer in Texas because it was given a federal product exclusion, so it can import certain parts without paying tariffs. In July, President Donald Trump tweeted that he might reject the exclusion, adding “Make then in the USA, no Tariffs!” He later said “A man I have a lot of liking for and respect is Tim Cook, and we’ll work it out, I think they’re going to announce that they’re going to build a plant in Texas, and if they do that I’m starting to get very happy, okay.”
“The Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful computer ever and we’re proud to be building it in Austin. We thank the administration for their support enabling this opportunity,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We believe deeply in the power of American innovation. That’s why every Apple product is designed and engineered in the US, and made up of parts from 36 states, supporting 450,000 jobs with US suppliers, and we’re going to continue growing here.”
In its release, Apple said it was “on track” to invest $350 billion in the U.S. economy by 2023.
Average salary for manufacturing jobs nears six figures
“Manufacturing, especially advanced manufacturing, is growing in Central Texas,” said Drew Scheberle at Austin Chamber of Commerce.
According to the chamber, about 62,000 people work in the manufacturing industry in the Austin area.
Scheberle said, expect the number of available manufacturing jobs to grow. “You have folks from all over the world who’ve been investing in Austin, who’ve been investing in our talent, so this is going to continue to keep that at the forefront as people look at where they put their best manufacturing presence in the world.”
Austin Community College’s Laura Marmolejo said, “There’s a job for everyone if they’re interested.”
The Manufacturing Technology Department Chair said it takes about four weeks to learn the basics, and you can build your skills over a couple of years.
She said she gets calls all the time from local employers who’re looking to hire.
“Every time I turn around, I see companies saying we don’t have enough people,” Marmolejo said. “I just want to grab people off the street and say ‘come over here, let me teach you something that you can get a great job in.'”
Marmolejo said ACC recently consolidated manufacturing-related programs into one department. It’s an effort to make it easier for people to come and learn and for companies to recruit. “We want to do what we can to bridge that gap, so that more people will have the opportunity to work in a really good field, the one that’ll help sustain them and their families,” she said.
Scheberle said Austin competes against cities like Seoul, South Korea, Albany, New York and Denver, Colorado to get companies to either move here or expand here.
He said the industry offers entry-level jobs, as well as highly-skilled, well-paying jobs, so the chamber is constantly working hard to bring more manufacturing opportunities to the region.
“We are a free trade chamber of commerce. We believe, you should have as low barriers and free and balanced trade as possible,” he said. “We’re working hard to make sure that we’re going out and talking to the manufacturers that are here in Austin and in the region about what they need to grow, and we’re also making sure that we’re advocating for things that are going to continue to expand manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, in the region.”