Cluster Icons-aerospace- blueAerospace companies in the region network and collaboratively seek opportunities to improve the local business climate, share leads and increase aerospace business opportunities. Companies in the cluster serve industry leaders like Boeing and Airbus, which benefit from being able to visit multiple suppliers in one visit to the region.

Technical Talent and Manufacturing Excellence

There are more than 56,000 engineers within 90 miles of Rockford. The Rockford MSA has more than 4,000 engineers, which is 1.3 times more than the U.S. average. The regional workforce is productive and dedicated, with targeted aerospace industry training programs to ensure suppliers have consistent and long-term access to skilled workers.

Business-Friendly Community

The Rockford Region boasts pro-development oriented communities with a history of supporting the growth needs of advanced manufacturing. The region features a collaborative economic development effort that encourages innovation and supplier development.

Unparalleled Global Access

The region’s location allows for convenient access to regional, national and international markets. As part of the world’s third-largest multi-modal port system, the Rockford Region offers international airports, major interstate connections, ocean and river ports and rail services that provide effortless and cost-effective worldwide movement of employees, customers and products. The Rockford Region is only an hour away from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). It also boasts the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD), a leading cargo airport in the country.

Instant Supply Chain

Rockford’s aerospace cluster is one of the leading aerospace employment centers in the country. The region offers multiple diverse clusters of advanced manufacturing capabilities at twice the national average in manufacturing employment. Rockford’s unique strength is the presence of diverse companies at all levels of the supply chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software. The region is comprised of more than 200 aerospace companies, with several tier-one aerospace suppliers, including B/E Aerospace, GE Aviation, Esterline, UTC Aerospace Systems and Woodward.

Workforce Development

The Rockford Region takes a proactive and pragmatic approach to addressing one of the aerospace industry’s greatest needs – finding qualified talent during a national shortage of engineers, scientists and technicians. A vision and strategy of the regional aerospace network is to educate, attract and retain an unparalleled workforce and create world-class educational and vocational partnerships and institutions. Rockford is at the center of the Midwest’s great slate of universities and engineering schools.

Nearly 9,000 degrees are granted each year from local educational institutions, more than 400 in engineering. Through collaborative efforts with higher education institutions, businesses in the region have the opportunity to develop and sustain the professional, technical and skilled workforce necessary to meet global market demands.”