Strategic Plan

A Bold Vision for the Future, 2016-2020

In the last five years, the Rockford Region has emerged from a national recession, and with our partners, investors, and stakeholders side by side, the RAEDC has assisted that recovery.

Throughout the nation and communities like ours, focus is paramount in times of global competitiveness and economic uncertainty. The RAEDC remains committed to continuous improvement, always evaluating our priorities to ensure we’re asking the right questions and pushing for the right solutions. We will be proactive in cultivating opportunities to increase the economic well-being of our region.

The Rockford Region’s success IS ours to influence. We embrace a bold vision for our community, to stake our claim on the national stage, that “We are and will be a Top 25 community” because we want the region to be competitive with the best in the U.S. – a shining example to others.

The momentum continues as leaders recommit themselves to the future, with the COURAGE to find the RIGHT path – not the path of least resistance, but the one that makes real impact. Our work will be with PASSION for excellence, UNIFIED in our commitment to one another and to our sustainability. Nothing less than our best will do.

Download the Rockforward20/20 Strategic Plan for 2016-2020.

Download the 2020 Rockforward20/20 Results Report (PDF) or the 2020 Rockforward20/20 Results Report in PowerPoint format.

Our Mission

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) cultivates opportunities for primary job growth that increase the economic well-being of our region.

Our Vision

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) propels the region to top 25 status, as the model for impactful economic development in partnership with regional organizations.

Strategies for the Rockforward20/20 Vision:


Successfully market and sell our region with bold, innovative, and impactful tactics.

  • Market and sell to targeted industries and regions
  • Market our core assets as a competitive edge


Proactively capitalize on relationships to nurture and grow world-class employers.

  • Connect businesses to resources for growth
  • Identify opportunities in targeted growth areas
  • Connect regional industry leaders as champions to promote the region and achieve endorsement


Align regional stakeholders for positive economic transformation.

  • Identify assets, needs and opportunities
  • Facilitate collaboration, transparent actions by all, and benchmarking of solutions amongst – stakeholders
  • Strengthen workforce pipeline by supporting education and training organizations through industry needs assessments and partnerships


Build upon our core assets to prepare our region for targeted growth.

  • Fund and develop emerging opportunities
  • Work with stakeholders to expand regional assets and realize their full potential


Compile information and respond quickly to generate results in decision making for regional growth.

  • Provide readily accessible, pertinent information
  • Ensure our stakeholders’ success by connecting them to the assets and strengths of the region
  • Enable timely decision making for regional growth”

Previous Rockforward! Strategic Plans

In May of 2007, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s (RAEDC) Board of Directors approved Rockforward!, a five-year strategic plan for 2008 – 2012. Rockforward!’s five powerful strategies challenged the RAEDC to influence change in areas that took advantage of the region’s strengths, overcame any weaknesses, and invested in opportunities while mitigating perceived threats.

Continued growth would need to build upon the success of Rockforward!, working together with all partnering stakeholders and a strong plan in place – Rockforward2!   The plan was an updated version for 2013-2015, and the results were impressive. Without the Rockforward2! plan in place, the outcomes achieved would not have been possible.

Again in 2015, the Rockforward! and Rockforward2!  strategic plans were reviewed and updated with new goals for economic growth. The new strategic plan Rockforward20/20 was not only built on the momentum of the two previous plans, but was also opened up for transparent feedback from 250+ community stakeholders.

Review the progress made on Rockforward20/20 goals and read the Rockforward!2 Results Report as well as previous results reports from the Rockforward! strategic plans.

To ensure the region’s success and continue the daily work of economic development become an investor.