Shiny New Campus in the Shadow of Lost Jobs

The Mt. San Jacinto Community College District announced it will expand its campus locations in the Temecula Area. The college purchased two five-story office buildings, the former Abbot Laboratories office, located at 41888 Motorcar Parkway in Temecula on March 16, 2018.

The property was purchased through the Measure AA funds; funds voted on by the people for advancing Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC). Purchasing the existing facility saves taxpayer dollars and expedites the District’s ability to provide access to quality higher education much sooner as compared to new construction. MSJC anticipates the expansion to take at least 18 months.

Expanding the higher education facilities benefits the city and the college. The former Abbott Vascular space that began vacating in 2012, will now have a solid tenant. Although this is a boon for the college, it does lead to the question:  What happened to Abbott Laboratories?

In 2004, the Guidant Corporation sold its vascular plant to Abbott Vascular as well as the plans to build the local two-building campus. Abbott Vascular continued building the offices. At the time of completion in 2007, they had over 4000 employees in the Temecula area. 

But things started to change in 2012. The companies first phase of layoffs came that year when 300 workers were let go from the manufacturing plant.  In 2013, 450 more manufacturing and support positions were dissolved. After these cuts, the workforce was reduced to around 2000 employees. Then in 2015, it was a slow trickle of more layoffs as they let go 163 more workers, bringing the ever declining workforce to around 1500 employees a drastic change from 4000 employees six years ago.

Why did this happen? The details are not entirely clear, but it appears that Abbott followed the pattern of a lot of corporations and started outsourcing jobs. The company started farming off its technical jobs to an Indian company Wipro to compete with the ever growing need for cheaper employees and to keep the global costs down. Abbott offered assurance that its production facility would remain in America, but the tech jobs would now be outsourced to India.

Overall, it is disappointing to see one of the major employers here in Temecula downsizing its staff and outsourcing jobs. But the bright side is that there will be a new emphasis on higher education.  This will hopefully increase the need for more professors, maintenance workers and general help.  In addition to that, it will keep the building from becoming a eye sore.