IndustryWeek: Workforce Programs Propel Aerospace Cluster

IndustryWeek features our region’s customized education to workforce pipeline strategies as a differentiator from other communities

IndustryWeek’s senior editor Adrienne Selko, spoke with RAEDC president and CEO Nathan Bryant, about how our region is developing solutions to the education and workforce disconnect happening around the world.

There aren’t many places in the country where a student can earn a four-year mechanical engineering degree at a cost of less than $40,000.

But in Rockford, Illinois it’s possible.

Northern Illinois University Mechanical Engineering at Rock Valley College, a partnership that has figured out a way and as a result, the Rockford metropolitan area has 1.3 times the U.S. average of engineers. These engineers account for 80% of all aerospace employment in the state.

This didn’t happen by mistake.

“Our region, and this council have invested in the area’s workforce for over ten years,” explains Nathan Bryant, CEO Rockford Area Development Council. “We were an early adopter of pairing workforce development to specific industry needs.”

Read the complete IndustryWeek article.

Learn more about our region’s Workforce Development strategy at