Making Strides in the Community

The last year has been a year of change for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. Not only with a new board president and new staff, but with a refocus on the core work of economic development.

During the RAEDC annual event and strategic plan presentation that took place on Feb. 23, we were able to gather with community and business leaders and investors to celebrate economic development in our region over the past year. Among the accomplishments were:

  • Completing four business expansion projects in which RAEDC was directly involved.
  • Completing 43 business retention visits.
  • Completing 71 assists, a value-added connection to a primary employer or partner that would not have happened without RAEDC’s engagement.
  • Developing a partnership with The Workforce Connection, IDES, the IL Dept of Employment Security, the City of Rockford, Growth Dimensions, and the City of Belvedere to try to minimize the impact of the announced Stellantis plant closing on our community.  
  • Winning a five-year, $5 million dollar award from the Department of Defense, as a part of the IL Defense Manufacturing Consortium, to support the casting and forging industry in Northern Illinois.
  • Convening the Rockford Area Aerospace Network’s (RAAN), Midwest Aerospace Conference 2022.

Our community is filled with hard-working, dedicated leaders who want to see our region thrive, and we are grateful to be a part of the momentum.

Looking forward, RAEDC will rely on our strategic plan to serve as a guide for the next chapter of Rockford area economic development. We commissioned the plan through Next Move Group, and it outlines what should be our guiding lights moving forward. The focus is on prioritizing four major goals: organization development, product/property development, business retention and expansion, and marketing and attraction.

The goals are stacked to rebuild the foundation of RAEDC and are of equal importance. However, organizational development is first, followed by ensuring good product development before the organization can market, attract, retain, and expand.

Key takeaways of the strategic plan included:

  • Prioritizing marketing, attraction, and retention.
  • Making connections and generating leads for the community.
  • Identifying the most impactful growth areas, such as the airport, available land, and location amongst major metro markets.
  • Committing to specific actions and achieving results to rebuild the organization’s reputation.

We are excited by what the organization has achieved in the past year and what is currently in the works to increase the economic prosperity of the region for companies and residents. Together, we can go further and build upon the successes of the last year.

Click here for information on how you can get involved in the growth and development of our region.