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Maquiladoras and Skill Development

John Sargent


This paper examines the contribution of different segments of the maquiladora industry to the development of industrial skills in Mexico. Using data collected through interviews at 30 maquiladoras and with 59 line and technical workers, the relationship among process technology, Japanese manufacturing techniques, and human resource practices is explored. The results suggest that large maquiladoras that utilize technologically-intensive process technology and that do some manufacturing do not have significantly more attractive human resource programs than large assembly maquiladoras that use relatively simple process technology. The primary conclusion from this study is that the growth of skills development activity in the maquiladoras is best explained by the rapid growth of the transportation equipment industry over the last 15 years and not to growth of technologically-intensive forms of production.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229