For the past eight years, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council has been conducting the “Voice of the Customer”, an outreach program with regional companies to learn about their business, their views of the current business climate, and community issue’s to business growth and expansion, their obstacles or opportunities. The company information is kept confidential, but it allows us to collect data, drive metrics, and in the end, we can utilize this information to help them diversify, grow and expand their business.
One common theme that always comes up is talent as it relates to workforce development and the education of our workforce. This has become the number one topic as it relates to economic growth. Whether or not a company decides to move to our region and whether or not it has the opportunity to grow is related to the availability of talent in the region. This year, we have taken on a new module to the Voice of the Customer program known as “Talent”. We are one of ten communities across the country that have the opportunity to implement this new platform. The “Talent” module is an in depth exploration of HR employment practices, workforce needs, and workforce challenges that shines a light on specific problems that can deliver value to employers.
The RAEDC business retention and expansion team will be conducting 100 interviews by the end of the year to identify our region’s education and workforce opportunities, and to benchmark our talent to offer participating communities. Once this process is complete we will have specific data that we can use to speak with educational institutions and workforce development agencies to positively impact how we can help our regional businesses thrive and grow!
As technology advances at a rapid pace, the conversation revolving around the education of our workforce escalates. As one of the voices of our business community we look to this platform to help our local economy grow.
by Stacy Bernardi, VP for Development
This article was also published in the Rockford Register Star.