During late 1994 and early 1995, Forward Janesville, through input from business, community and education leaders, developed "The New Century Program," a strategy for the next four years that would guide Janesville economic development efforts into the 21st Century. The major thrust of The New Century Program was growth through retention and expansion of existing business. The four main program areas included: 1) Existing business growth and expansion; 2) Downtown revitalization; 3) Education; 4) Economic Diversity. Another key component that was successfully developed was a strong government relations program. During the years 1996 – 2000, Forward Janesville built a team of experienced professionals and recruited a volunteer team of over 300 business leaders involved on the Board of Directors, and various Councils and Working Groups. During this time the organization gained respect locally, statewide and nationally as an effective economic development organization. This broad-based approach to economic development positioned the organization to make incredible progress.
The economic downturn that began in 2000 affected the Janesville economy and Forward Janesville . Membership that had soared from 455 in 1995 to 740 in 2001 began to decline. Staff positions were cut and redefined, and program areas were reevaluated. In 2003, Forward Janesville found itself in a stronger position than in the previous two years, with a solid team of staff and volunteers once again in place and a renewed commitment to its mission.
The organization continues its strong work in government relations, education, small business, economic development and membership services. Recently, Forward Janesville has begun establishing regional partnerships that will help secure the economic future of this area and strengthen and diversify the area economy.