Dr. Fleming Commends Region’s Customized Education to Workforce Pipeline Strategies

Nearly 800 business and community leaders joined to celebrate the region’s wins and rally again to continue the creation of customized education to workforce strategies that are relevant to employer’s needs at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s (RAEDC) 2017 Annual Meeting.

Dr. Kevin Fleming, producer of the viral video “Success in the New Economy,” and author of the bestseller, “(Re)Defining the Goal” discussed his 7:2:1 concept. The concept demonstrates the ratio of education levels required to support a sustainable and repeatable talent supply chain. The 7:2:1 ratio breaks down to represent for each job requiring a master’s degree or higher, two jobs require a four-year degree, and seven jobs require a 2-year degree, certificate, training or apprenticeship. These education levels can be represented within one company as well as in the global economy.

Dr. Fleming is a passionate advocate for ensuring all students enter the labor market with a competitive advantage. He currently supports over 40 Career & Technical Education programs as a Dean of Instruction, CTE at Norco College (part of Riverside Community College District, California) and serves as vice president for the California Community College Association for Occupational Education.

During his keynote address, Dr. Fleming reminds our community that what we are doing is a global differentiator and not many communities are doing this type of work. As a community, we need to continue to support these efforts and continue to talk about them along with promoting them inside as well as outside our region.

Utilizing the capabilities to establish these customized talent supply chains as a differentiator for the Rockford Region has provided an advantage over other regions when cultivating opportunities for primary job growth that increase the economic well-being of our region.

Nathan Bryant, president and CEO at the RAEDC stated “The region has the opportunity to attract and retain sticky jobs that are good today, tomorrow, and in the future in the region through the development of these customized education to workforce solutions. The community that successfully collaborates and demonstrates the ability to support business workforce requirements will control its own destiny. There is no bigger opportunity for our community.”

During the closing remarks, Bryant talked about regional organizations and businesses understanding their niche in the overall workforce conversation and the need within the region to connect businesses and education facilities with a single voice of organized efforts to ensure our workforce lands where they are needed and have the skills required to suit our industry clusters.

Michele Petrie, president of Wintrust Commercial Bank and Chairman of the Board for the RAEDC spoke about her plans, which includes continued development of the RAEDC’s focus on execution, prioritization, and results. Petrie reviewed activities from the year and metrics for the second year of Rockforward20/20, the RAEDC’s five-year strategic plan.  “We will go from processing opportunities that happen to land in our region to actively searching for companies we want to attract, as well as actively facilitating deals and growth opportunities with companies already here. Best in Class results occur when you take action by building on the successes of the past while executing in a modern, disciplined way” states Petrie. A priority outlined in Petrie’s plan is to ensure the RAEDC, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, and the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB), in addition to many other community stakeholders continue to work closely together to create efficiency and ensure the community leaps forward toward top 25 status.

Continuing the momentum, the Rockforward20/20 strategic plan has established the region’s economic growth goals through 2020, as well as the RAEDC’s mission to cultivate opportunities for primary job growth. This strategic plan embraces the many economic opportunities in our region and will carry forward the momentum from Rockforward2!.

Progress as of October 31st, 2017 towards the Rockforward20/20 Goals

Rockforward20/20 measurements 22 Month Progress Five Year Goal
New and Retained Jobs 1,393 10,000
Capital Investment $582,774,952 $925 million
New or Renovated Space 1,449,752 SQ FT 8 million



Principal Sponsor
Alpine Bank
Keynote Presenting Sponsor
OSF Healthcare
Premier Sponsors
Baker Tilly, First Northern Credit Union, Greenlee, Mercyhealth, Meridian, SwedishAmerican Health System, Woodward, Inc. 
Supporting Sponsor


Alpine Bank, City of Loves Park, City of Rockford, Comcast Business, ComEd, Fehr Graham, First Midwest Group, Inc., IBEW / NECA, JP Morgan Chase, Larson & Darby Group, Mercyhealth, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association, Northwestern Illinois Contractors Association, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford Area REALTORS, Rockford Public Schools, Rockford Register Star, SwedishAmerican Health System, UTC Aerospace Systems, Village of Machesney Park, WIFR-TV, Winnebago County, Woodward, Inc., WQRF TV / WTVO TV, WREX