The CORE of the RAEDC’s economic development work is the Rockford Region’s current employers. Existing businesses have accounted for a majority of new investment in the Rockforward20/20 strategic plan, year to date. The RAEDC appreciates the investments of existing businesses and has sought feedback from the business community to inform its economic development work through the “Voice of the Customer” program since 2005.
The “Voice of the Customer” program is now “CORE Conversations” to reflect that existing employers are “CORE” to the region’s economic well-being and that their feedback impacts economic development efforts. The RAEDC outreach efforts are a model for the State of Illinois, which is launching a statewide program for “C.O.R.E.” (Creating Opportunities for Retention and Expansion).
The RAEDC will continue to reach out to the operational heads of companies with primary jobs through CORE Conversations. The RAEDC uses these confidential meetings to learn about the business as well as about how industry trends are impacting its operations. These conversations provide feedback on the business climate in the Rockford Region, as well as survey satisfaction with a wide range of community resources. The RAEDC and its economic development partners are able to act on feedback to pro-actively address issues for companies and barriers to growth in the community.
Through these CORE Conversations the RAEDC consistently hears from local companies that the need for an available skilled workforce is at that core of their growth opportunities. The RAEDC has launched “CORE Talent” to address the present and future workforce needs of our employers. Through conversations with human resource managers, the RAEDC will develop real time information on the workforce, skill gaps, and emerging skills required to support the growth of the region’s employers. This information will support training development, workforce grant proposals, and increase connections of area companies to educational institutions and workforce development support organizations.
The RAEDC thanks all companies for being an employer in the Rockford Region and looks forward to a CORE Conversation with the management team. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback – please call 815-987-8118 to contact Gina Meeks or Karl Franzen to schedule a CORE Conversation.