The Greater Rockford Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee is committed to cultivating a symbiotic relationship between businesses and educational institutions to support our region’s workforce. By recognizing the pivotal role of skilled workers in driving economic growth, the committee supports feeding programs and training initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between businesses and education providers.
Collaboration with local educational institutions such as Rock Valley College, Rockford Public Schools, and Harlem School District is a cornerstone of the committee’s strategy. By forming strategic partnerships, we facilitate a seamless connection between businesses and emerging talent. The committee understands that a well-trained workforce is essential for the region’s prosperity, and we are actively working to close the skills gap, create career pathways, and offer internship opportunities.
Here are some of the programs we support, champion, and are most proud of:
NIU and RVC Engineering Partnership
One shining example of collaboration is the NIU engineering program at Rock Valley College. This initiative brings Northern Illinois University’s top-ranked engineering program to Rockford, enabling local students to earn an ABET accredited bachelor’s degree in engineering and technology without leaving the RVC campus. The Workforce Connection (TWC) is committed to providing a workforce that meets the needs of the business community now and in the future. Our team works with TWC to provide a fully integrated and accessible workforce development system that balances the needs of individuals and businesses to ensure our region has a skilled workforce to effectively compete in the global economy. These training programs are approved for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and local Workforce Innovation Boards identified them as programs that are qualified for WIOA-funded training.
RVC Aviation Maintenance Technology Program
Rock Valley College has also invested in an Aviation Maintenance Technology Program located at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. This program provides a direct talent supply chain to the AAR maintenance repair and overhaul facility. Each federally licensed graduate from the program has 2,000 hours of instruction and is guaranteed an interview with AAR. Both problems not only provide educational opportunities but also ensure that the local workforce is equipped with high-demand skills.
RVC Mechatronics Program
The mechatronics program at RVC is a rapidly growing field of study that prepares students for a career in the exciting intersection of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering. This program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of mechatronics, as well as hands-on experience with the latest tools and technologies. Short-term programs and certificates are available to fast-track careers in this in-demand field.
RVC Computer Numerical Control Program
RVC also offers one of few options for computer numerical control (CNC) programs, where students learn to set up and operate a CNC machine as well as programming in a manufacturing environment. The program delivers a customized curriculum to prepare individuals for a career in advanced manufacturing or upskill current employees of our area’s manufactures.
The Workforce Connection WIOA Programs
The Workforce Connection (TWC) is committed to providing a workforce that meets the needs of the business community now and in the future. Our team works with TWC to provide a fully integrated and accessible workforce development system that balances the needs of individuals and businesses to ensure our region has a skilled workforce to effectively compete in the global economy. These training programs are approved for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
A standout organization in this ecosystem is Rockford Promise. Through donations and civic partnerships, Rockford Promise offers full-tuition scholarships to Rock Valley College, Rockford University, and Northern Illinois University for qualifying graduates of Rockford Public Schools District 205. This initiative not only makes education accessible but also contributes to a skilled workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the contemporary job market.
Our community’s approach to education and workforce development is not only innovative but also a testament to the commitment of the region to fostering a prosperous future through collaboration, education, and strategic investment in its workforce.
To learn more about workforce development programs and initiatives available in our region, click here.