ROCKFORD - The local push to
create homegrown engineers in
The program functions on four tiers - brand promise, business entrepreneurship, product innovation, but one of the most important to RAEDC is the workforce pipeline tier. It's that initiative that has placed 24 local students in jobs, 18 with internships and is looking to expand the internship opportunities to help bring in more local talent.
"I'm a very
non-traditional student," said Norman Hayes, a 39 year-old NIU senior in
engineering who went back to school with help from JIAC. The program created an internship opportunity
for him at a
"I started off there with one project as a quality assurance engineer and now they've brought me in onto a second project as far as doing price quote," said Hayes.
JIAC has allowed RAEDC to help area companies market their products and increase their brand presence, helping them secure more business which in turn creates the need for more employees. It creates a win-win for both companies and potential workers.
"This grant helped the region create and retain over 2,100 jobs, already in our first year, and so we think this grant has been very impactive to the region," said Janyce Fadden, CEO for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council.
the region's higher-learning institutions is helping for form that workforce pipeline
to help secure local engineers. NIU's
"This is really a unique opportunity I think because one of the challenged we have is attracting people to the Rockford area," said Kim Kuborn, human resources partner for Loves Park based, Danfoss Power Electronics.
"If they Google, 'Rockford,' they may not like the results that they get, but in a fair like this, they know what they're coming into and it's a more focused group of people, so it's more likely to be a good match for us as employers."
Kuborn says Danfoss is looking to hire about six engineers right now, but they're looking at expanding again more the potential to hire a dozen more workers.
The JIAC grant is set to expire in a couple of years, but RAEDC is already laying the groundwork to make sure the programs that have come to fruition because of the grant will continue to make last results.