The nation’s leading organization for university-led economic development has chosen a partnership between Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Rock Valley College (RVC) as this year’s best example of improving a community through local talent development. The University Economic Development Association (UEDA) has honored NIU Engineering @ RVC with an Award of Excellence for Talent and Place Development.
Now in its second year, the community-based, industry-integrated engineering program marks a new level of collaboration between higher education and industry to address a looming engineering talent shortage in the Rockford area. Rockford area students take their first two years of engineering courses at Rock Valley College, then transition seamlessly to courses taught by NIU College of Engineering & Engineering Technology faculty on the campus of RVC. Students gain valuable experience in paid internships with local companies and can access scholarship funds raised by Rockford area supporters of the program.