In a little more than a year, Toyota's $800 million factory in San Antonio will start building full-sized pickups to compete with Chevy, Dodge and Ford.
Texas seemed to be the ideal location for several reasons, not just state incentives. Being in Texas expands the company's political base. There also is an abundant work force in Texas, which is outside the traditional industrial north, where workers might want to be represented by the UAW or another union. Texas also happens to be the country's biggest pickup market.
But there has been an unexpected dip on the road to Job 1.
It seems not enough Texans have the right kind of manufacturing experience to suit Toyota. So company recruiters have had to go farther afield to hire supervisors and skilled tradespeople.
That means running newspaper ads as far away as central Illinois. That part of the world might be a good place to find workers with manufacturing experience at John Deere and Caterpillar factories. Or maybe with a little luck, there might even be some workers available with experience at the Mitsubishi plant, which is a little farther upstate in Normal.
And in other parts of the country there probably are some former General Motors and Ford workers who might have just the right kind of experience as millwrights, tool-and-die makers or special maintenance engineers.
But hiring them probably isn't in the cards.
Eventually, Toyota will be able to hire the 2,000 workers it needs.
Just to be sure, the automaker also is recruiting Texas college graduates who can be trained in the Toyota way as sort of a postgraduate course.
Yes, it can be challenging hiring the right people. But opening factories and having to hire workers sure beats having to close factories and lay them off.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at