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A strong economy is an essential part of every successful community. While there are bright spots in our local economy, we need to do more to attract and keep businesses and jobs. Working toward a stronger economy will encourage families to stay and new people to relocate. It will also strengthen our education system and help to reduce poverty and crime. That’s why I propose the following:

  • Educate for the Future: We have to educate our kids in practical and marketable skills while they’re in high school. Going to college is a goal for so many young people, but it isn’t for everyone. Young people should be able to enter the local economy right after high school if that’s what they want to do. I want to secure state funding for local school programs that will teach our kids marketable trades and skills. I also would want to facilitate an annual update to the curriculum based on input from business leaders, labor unions, and other economic stakeholders. This way we can ensure our kids are always receiving the best possible education and are ready for life after high school.
  • Market Our Strengths: We need to market the Rockford area better than we are. We have a capable workforce, and the training programs I describe above will only amplify that. We also benefit from being in the middle of the Midwest, along a major highway, and less than two hours from three major cities. We should be selling companies with our location and our workforce. With a proper sales pitch there’s no reason a company wouldn’t want to set up here.
  • Grow Local Business: I will work with local leaders, business partners, and economic development groups to set up a local small business incubator. This incubator would help fund local entrepreneurs who are in the process of getting their businesses started. As a small business owner myself, I’m a big believer in small businesses and the positive impact they have on our community. I also have some small business specific COVID-19 recovery points that you can read about here.
  • New Economy Jobs: We need to invest in our community with an eye toward the future and the new economy. Right now there’s a lot of local growth potential with clean energy jobs, marijuana jobs, and casino jobs. I will work with local leaders to identify other industry sectors with high growth potential and work to bring them to the Rockford area. By working with our high schools and local colleges and universities we can make sure that new and current workers are able to get the training necessary to work in these industries.