John Deere said its 6,000 employees at its site in Waterloo, Iowa, have been a large part of its success. And the company works to get the talented workers it needs. It works with the local community college on curriculum design, gives back to the community and encourages volunteering. "All those machine tools? Our competitors can buy the same stuff. The difference is our folks. We know we have a competitive advantage because of that," said Thad Nevitt, factory manager of the site.

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