Rockford Region’s Economic Impact in Defense Discussed in Springfield

Photos from the launch and meetings are on our Facebook page.

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) is one of the founding members of the Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment (DIA) program led by the University of Illinois Systems. Our region is one of five defense-industry impacted communities in Illinois including the Quad Cities, Peoria, Southern Illinois, and Chicago actively working to sustain, diversify and grow defense and military business in the state. The RAEDC is utilizing this collaboration to grow our aerospace cluster.

This partnership also extends to members of the Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN) and has allowed for grants in 2017 that substantially offset AS9100 Revision D Internal Auditor training fees for our small and medium-size manufacturers. Of the 12 companies represented half were directly from our region and half were from Chicagoland areas. This reach demonstrates the strength of our aerospace cluster in the larger Northern Illinois area. The RAEDC will work with DIA to look at additional grant opportunities to continue to assist our regional manufacturers with training and regulatory curriculum.

This week Jimsi Kuborn, from the RAEDC, Khoi Vu (RAAN Chairman), Chris Lauret, and Dave Wubben from GE Aviation, Lynn Breed from MIDWEST AERO SUPPORT, and Jon Scholtes from Congressman Kinzinger’s staff  were in Springfield, IL to represent our region and discuss the research and official launch of the next phase of the program, the Illinois Defense Network ( with Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. This provided the opportunity for Sanguinetti and her Military Economic Development Committee (MEDC) to ask questions about the data available to partners and expected outcomes from the partnership.

“Being part of this program has already benefited our region through phase-one grant funding for the AS9100 training and continues through the ability to access the DIA research database which pulls information from more than 26 different sources,” says Jimsi Kuborn, vice president of investor relations at the RAEDC. “In phase two we will work with RAAN members to dive into the data and identify what opportunities could directly affect our region’s impact on defense contracts.”

The original release from the University of Illinois Systems is below. To learn more about the partnership contact Jimsi Kuborn at or 815.969.4259.

Erin Marshall
Communications and Marketing Coordinator, RAEDC

Defense Spending an Economic Driver for Illinois

U of I System study shows industry has nearly $12 billion annual impact


CHICAGO – Though not generally considered a state that is closely tied to military spending, a new study by the University of Illinois System shows that the defense industry has a significant impact on the Illinois economy.

In 2016, the study found that total economic impact of defense spending in Illinois was nearly $12 billion, representing approximately 1.5 percent of the state’s gross domestic product and contributing to more than 136,500 jobs.

Prepared by the Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment (DIA) program, the findings follow more than year of intense data collection and analysis about the state’s defense supply chain, including identifying which companies and communities are most vulnerable to reductions in federal defense spending.

The University of Illinois System launched the Illinois DIA program in 2015 to help those defense-impacted companies and communities grow, diversify, and ultimately become more resilient amid declines in federal defense spending. The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). The Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago leads data collection and analysis for the program.

Illinois is not typically regarded as a defense-connected state, but is home to several active military installations, including the Rock Island Arsenal in the Quad Cities, Scott Air Force Base near Belleville and Naval Station Great Lakes near North Chicago. There also are National Guard units based in Peoria, Springfield and North Riverside. In fiscal year 2015, the state ranked 19th nationally with $7 billion in total defense spending, placing it well above neighboring states including Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The Illinois DIA report provides a clearer picture of the broader impact of defense dollars flowing into the state, including direct and indirect effects. In 2016, about $8 billion in DoD contracts with Illinois firms spurred a combined $6.2 billion in additional economic output through sales involving other businesses in the state. When the effects of grants and DoD payroll are combined, that number jumps to more than $20 billion in sales spurred by defense.

The study revealed similar impact on employment, estimating that for every 100 jobs attributable to defense spending, an additional 60 jobs are created in the state. The DoD had nearly 55,000 active personnel and civilian employees stationed in Illinois in 2016. When combined with employment from contracts, defense spending contributes to more than 136,500 jobs across the state.

The report also sheds some light on the industries most touched by defense. Defense spending’s largest employment impact is on the professional, scientific, and technical services and construction industries, which together accounted for approximately 26% of total employment impacts.

Today, the Illinois DIA program also announced a new initiative to leverage the work conducted over the past two years and develop a statewide response strategy for at-risk communities in Illinois.

The new Illinois Defense Network (IDN) will directly connect the Illinois DIA program with defense-impacted communities and build a network of stakeholders from industry, government and academia to develop and implement programs that strengthen Illinois’ defense economy. IDN’s founding regional economic development partners are the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Chicago Metro Metals Consortium, and Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen said the insights produced by the program are critical to supporting communities, businesses and workers across the state.

“As the state’s land-grant university, the University of Illinois System is committed to supporting economic development efforts that create an even better tomorrow for the people of Illinois,” Killeen said. “The Illinois DIA program is a great example of the new partnerships we are building with industry and government that leverage our collective strengths to increase Illinois’ economic competitiveness.”

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, who chairs the Military Economic Development Committee (MEDC) to preserve, protect, expand, and attract new military missions, assets, and installations, has been a strong supporter of the Illinois DIA Program.

“My office is committed to championing Illinois’ defense industry,” said Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. “The insights produced by the Illinois DIA Program will allow us to take a holistic look at the parts of our economy most impacted by defense and support the local companies and workers that are vital to DoD activities across the state.”

The complete Report on the Economic Impact of Defense-Related Spending in Illinois is available on the Illinois DIA Program’s website at

About the Illinois DIA Program
The Illinois DIA Program supports the state’s defense and manufacturing industries by delivering resources and providing new insights that help companies and communities grow, diversify, and become more resilient. The Illinois DIA Program works with communities across Illinois that have clear links to the defense industry based on the presence of key military assets, a high concentration of manufacturers, or both. These communities include the Quad Cities, Rockford, Northeastern Illinois, Peoria and Southwestern Illinois.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), the program is executed through a partnership between the University of Illinois System, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, and the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). For more information, please visit