CORE Conversations and CORE Talent

CORE Conversations and CORE Talent

The “Voice of the Customer” program is now “CORE Conversations” (Creating Opportunities for Retention and Expansion) to reflect that existing employers are “CORE” to the region’s economic well-being and that their feedback impacts economic development efforts. The RAEDC outreach efforts are a model for the State of Illinois, which is launching a statewide program for CORE.

The RAEDC will continue to reach out to the operational heads of companies with primary jobs through CORE Conversations. The RAEDC uses these confidential meetings to learn about the business as well as about how industry trends are impacting its operations. These conversations provide feedback on the business climate in the Rockford Region, as well as survey satisfaction with a wide range of community resources. The RAEDC and its economic development partners are able to act on feedback to pro-actively address issues for companies and barriers to growth in the community.

Existing businesses generate as much as 80% or more of economic growth in a community. Through CORE Conversations and CORE Talent, the RAEDC supports the growth potential of Winnebago County’s existing businesses by systematically reaching out for feedback on their company, their industry, and the region.

Through these CORE Conversations, the RAEDC consistently hears from local companies that the need for an available skilled workforce is at that core of their growth opportunities. The RAEDC has launched “CORE Talent” to address the present and future workforce needs of our employers. Through conversations with human resource managers, the RAEDC will develop real-time information on the workforce, skill gaps, and emerging skills required to support the growth of the region’s employers. This information will support training development, workforce grant proposals, and increase connections of area companies to educational institutions and workforce development support organizations.

Since 2004, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council has met with more than 900 companies, which in aggregate employ more than half of our region’s workforce. Our primary objectives with these interviews are to:

  • understand the future plans of existing organizations within our communities
  • identify current site issues and improvement opportunities that would help businesses grow
  • input information for infrastructure planning, development plans, managing growth expectations
  • aid the development of long and short-term improvement projects with better use of our local resources
  • demonstrate the importance of public-private partnerships in establishing effective approaches to economic development.

To schedule a CORE Conversation or learn more about the program contact the RAEDC at 815.987.8118 or email

Voice of the Customer Results Summaries

2015 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2014 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2013 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2012 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2011 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2010 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2009 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2007 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report
2006 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Summary Report

*The 2010-2013 reports were prepared by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council under award 06-79-05547 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.