Image Map

Monthly Archives: April 2018

  • -

Stakeholder Focus:  Workforce Connection


As you may recall, the community’s vision anticipates a condition where
– all residents are leading successful and fulfilling lives,
– our workforce is sought after, and
– our economy is agile, innovative and strong.

Connecting our residents to opportunities for education, training and employment is foundational to achieving our vision. Several community organizations are involved with this work. One such organization is the Workforce Connection.

What is the Workforce Connection? The Workforce Connection is a partnership of employment and training programs, economic development agencies and educational entities committed to providing a workforce that meets the needs of the business community. It is a regional partnership that is committed to Boone, Winnebago and Stephenson counties. Much of the funding for the Workforce Connection comes from the federal and state governments.

Among other things, the Workforce Connection evaluates and monitors training programs and manufacturers so they can adequately match candidates to jobs as well as disburse money from the Federal Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Who leads the Workforce Connection? Lisa Bly became the Executive Director in December of 2017. Lisa has experience in education and workforce development and has worked for several years at the community college level in the Chicago area. She most recently served as Associate Vice President of workforce development, economic development and continuing education at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis.

Where is the Workforce Connection? The Workforce Connection maintains offices in Freeport, Rockford and Belvidere.

What else should we know? “We find out what the gaps are that employers have. What are their pain points? And we bring the educational providers together. Those federal dollars are put forward to address that need,” says Bly. “It needs to be an employer-led model.”

To learn more, visit the Workforce Connection website at