Workforce Development in the Rockford Region

The Rockford MSA (which includes Boone and Winnebago Counties) is a thriving area, and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council is dedicated to making the most of our economy through our workforce development programs. The Rockford Region has an abundant workforce of 176,700 people, and this group has twice the national average of manufacturing employment, along with strong technical and engineering skills and, of course, our great Midwest work ethic. All of this combined makes us the perfect location for industrial, automotive, and aerospace site selection.

Large Concentration of National Engineering Talent

The Rockford area has many advanced manufacturing jobs in a range of industries, making this an area of rapid economic development, especially in the field of engineering. The majority of our engineers are in R&D or sales positions. Engineering jobs make up 1.7% of Rockford MSA’s total employment. This is 31% higher than the national average and 55% greater than the state of Illinois. Machinery manufacturing and R&D is 700% higher than the national average. Our concentration of manufacturing talent also includes:

  • 4.2 times the national average Metals Manufacturing and R&D employment – 400% greater
  • 3.4 times the national average Transportation Equipment Manufacturing and R&D employment – 300% greater
  • 1.5 times above the Illinois average in engineer employment – 50% higher than the US average

Growing Historic Manufacturing Community

Manufacturing is one of the backbones of the American economy, and in Rockford, it’s a thriving industry that’s currently seeing a great deal of job growth. Our metropolitan area ranks first in aerospace manufacturing throughout the state, and second in manufacturing employment, “on & off” road vehicle manufacturing, and industrial machine manufacturing.

According to the results of the latest Northern Stateline Economy and Jobs Report, a study conducted by the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance, the Rockford area has a skilled and reliable workforce, drawing upon a household population of approximately 438,000 people in Boone, Winnebago, and neighboring counties and totaling nearly 216,000 workers. Another 46,200 in the area can be classified as “underemployed”—people currently employed who would take a better job if offered by a new or existing employer and who possess the skills, experience, and education to qualify them to do so.

Skills of both the underemployed and employed fall largely in office operations, distribution, and manufacturing, with strong representation in healthcare, maintenance and installation, technician, quality assurance, and telecommunications.

A profile of existing workers was developed based on interviews conducted with senior management and human resource professionals from industrial, commercial, or service sector companies located within the area. The results:

  • 91% of the employers rated the productivity of the workforce as “Good” to “Excellent”
  • 91% of the employers rated worker reliability as “Good” to “Excellent”
  • 88% of the employers rated worker attitude as “Good” to “Excellent”

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council maintains a dedicated commitment to expanding and supporting our workforce. Whether you are in the aerospace, automotive, or manufacturing industry, consider Rockford’s impressive credentials and incentives when you are choosing your new location.