Advanced manufacturing has long been an asset of the Rockford region – an asset to be nurtured and leveraged in our region’s transformation.
The region’s vision anticipates that advanced manufacturing is one of the economic drivers to bring needed resources to this region to fuel our transformation:
“We have an agile, innovative and strong economy built on the renaissance of North American manufacturing, logistics, agribusiness and our proximity to urban centers such as Chicago.”
Advanced manufacturing is already a major economic engine for the community. The industry brings money in from outside the region for our world-class products and manufacturing services.
Many of our region’s jobs are tied to advanced manufacturing (20% by recent count). Much of our region’s job growth in the post-recession recovery has come from manufacturing. Since 2010 we have added 3,742 manufacturing jobs.
This growth makes the Rockford region an economic and manufacturing outlier in the state of Illinois. 24% of all Illinois manufacturing jobs added since 2010 are in the Rockford region. Think about that. A region with less than 3% of the state’s population has delivered almost one-quarter of the state’s post-recession manufacturing job growth.
So, where do we go from here? How do we maintain momentum?
Advanced manufacturing is a business that needs people. At any point, there are many unfilled positions in our region. Getting our residents educated, trained and connected to these opportunities is key to maintaining the momentum and realizing that vision.
Key transformational projects to monitor in this area include Connecting Talent with Opportunity (a career pathway project involving local high schools and community colleges), the NIU @ RVC Engineering program (the launch of a Rockford-based engineering degree program), and the construction of a Rock Valley College Advanced Technology Center.
To learn more, please see the Project Dashboard http://transformrockford.org/project-dashboard/ or call 815-977-5840.