FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2012
ROCKFORD, IL — In 2011, Rockford Area Strategic Initiatives (RASI) received an Adjustment Grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the creation of an economic diversification plan for the Rockford region of Winnebago and Boone Counties. Private and public sector leaders were assembled into a Diversification Committee as part of the Rockford Region Economic Development District’s (RREDD) Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), and in June 2012 hired AngelouEconomics to complete the plan, including an analysis of the region’s competitiveness in the following industries: aerospace, aviation and logistics, medical equipment manufacturing, and alternative energy parts manufacturing (wind, solar and biofuels).
The strategic Rockford Region Diversification Plan has been completed and presented to the community. The plan is now available to the region at large, and regional private and public leaders will begin implementation of the 10+ goals and tactics. These goals revolve around four themes: quality of the built environment, regional collaboration, targeted industries and workforce. RREDD Executive Director Patricia Diduch states, “Many community leaders, both private and public, have expressed great interest in really tackling these goals now – not tomorrow. AngelouEconomic’s message of urgency has sunk in, and I’m confident we will make significant progress as we quickly move forward.”
Janyce Fadden, RAEDC President, adds: “We have had some outstanding announcements this year, specifically Woodward, but this AngelouEconomics report highlights that we have much work to do in the region if we want to not only retain our recent successes but move towards transforming our larger region into wide-scale prosperity.”
C. Mark Williams, Executive Director of Growth Dimensions of Belvidere – Boone County, adds: “It’s important that the region can come together with a common voice to address and meet the goals that have been set forth. Our significant projects, including the Chrysler Group’s recent expansion, prove that this area is a valuable place to do business, and now we must work diligently to create the type of environment that will retain our quality companies and attract the needed workforce.”
RREDD Chairman Bob Walberg, Chairman of Boone County, endorses the plan, stating: “I am excited to work with my fellow County Board members and community leaders on these initiatives, and have reflected on what I can do now to start implementing these measures. I am inspired to reach out to our young citizens and engage them in political and community participation.”
ABOUT THE RAEDC
The primary role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council is to enhance wealth creation in the Rockford Region by marketing the area and helping employers retain and create quality jobs. The RAEDC works closely with many partners to serve as a one-stop resource for clients, to improve the competitiveness of the region and to engage the community in the work of economic development.
The Rockford Region Economic Development District (RREDD) was created in 2010 to oversee and implement Boone and Winnebago counties’ Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a five-year strategic economic development plan. RREDD works closely with many partners as an economic development research and planning resource for job creation and growing community wealth. It is governed by 30-member governing board that meets quarterly. RREDD is supported financially by Boone and Winnebago Counties, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and Growth Dimensions for Belvidere-Boone County.