The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) continues another enlightening year of CORE Conversations (formerly Voice of the Customer). CORE, short for Creating Opportunities for Retention & Expansion is a statewide initiative to align retention and expansion efforts of economic development organizations while providing additional resources to local businesses to increase positive outcomes. The RAEDC takes pride in knowing we were ahead of the curve in regards to approaching business retention and expansion in this way. We continue to be ahead of the curve as we add a talent portion (CORE Talent) to the CORE Conversation and to help identify and react to the workforce development needs of our region.
The RAEDC will continue to reach out to the operational heads of companies in our region who provide primary jobs through our CORE Conversations. The RAEDC uses these confidential meetings to learn about the business, as well as how industry trends are influencing their operations and potentially how it is impacting the local economy. With this program, we are able to provide and connect companies to resources for workforce development, available buildings, supply chain partners, incentives, imports/exports, operational efficiencies and more. These conversations, practiced by the RAEDC for over 10 years, have provided much-needed feedback on the business climate in the Rockford Region. Now the State of Illinois and its data-driven push to encourage businesses to stay and expand in the region will incorporate our existing practices as a template throughout the entire state.
At a recent SIOR/AIRE Joint Commercial Real Estate Luncheon in October 2016, Jim Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Intersect Illinois spoke on the value of CORE Conversations. He said, “It is essential to understand the needs of the business community in order to promote economic growth in Illinois. “ Intersect Illinois, the public-private partnership for economic development derived out of the current Rauner Administration, is one of several management companies of the CORE Coalition, which include the Illinois Department of Commerce, the Illinois Economic Development Association, Ameren, ComEd, Nicor Gas, and several additional economic development organizations throughout the state. “The CORE Coalition creates a platform to coordinate services for businesses and increase the efficacy of our existing economic development tools. I have made a push for this state to become the Red Carpet State as opposed to the Red-Tape State. This is a significant first step in simplifying the experience for our valuable businesses while garnering insight into how best to serve them going forward,” states Jim Schultz.
Consider the Business Retention and Expansion team at RAEDC to a “modern-day concierge service” for businesses right here in the Rockford Region. A brief phone call, a light tour of your facility, or a face-to-face meeting with one or more of our qualified economic development professionals is what enables state and local stakeholders to address business needs. The more the RAEDC can assist in removing barriers to business growth, the closer the Rockford Region is to increasing the economic well-being of the region.
Read previous Voice of the Customer reports at RockfordIL.com/VOC. The 2016 edition will be released during the first quarter of 2017.
We look forward to meeting with many of you to learn how we can help you grow your business. The RAEDC thanks all companies for participating in CORE Conversations. To schedule your CORE Conversation and be a part of the statewide initiative, contact the RAEDC at Information@RockfordIL.com or 815-987-8118.
by Gina Meeks, Business Development Assistant