The future of Rockford is on the drawing board as advocates for change search for a key that will transform the city for the better.
Transformation cannot happen without a group effort. Those behind the idea say our city works as a single unit, meaning education, business, the housing market, and all of us as individuals, have to work in unison before we see a change.
"We're talking about transforming our entire region and making it a top 25 community. education has to be one of the cornerstones," says Rockford Public School Superintendent, Dr. Ehren Jarrett.
Jarrett will lead Saturday's Transform Rockford event, where education will likely be a hot topic not just for teachers and students, but for area businesses.
Rudy Valdez wears many hats in the Rockford community, but as a UTC Aerospace Systems Engineer, he says "Our next workforce is here, they are the students, we have to make sure that they're as prepared as possible, we have to partner with educational institutions,"
Jim Barbagallo, a Broker Associate with Gambino Realtors, often sees prospective buyers question Rockford because of concerns about the public schools.
"They've been used to hearing that Rockford has a bad school system, and that's not the case, it's changing and it's changing quick," he says.
Barbagallo and other Transform supporters hope creating a pipeline between schools and local businesses will eventually attract more residents to the area.
"It's going to be a snowball effect, once you do that, and more companies come in, parents are happy, they like the school systems, not to make this utopia, but it's a start," says Valdez.
All of these issues and more will be talked about at tomorrow's Transform Rockford meeting at Ellis Arts Academy.
The meeting starts at 1 PM. You can also watch the event live on the CW. That's channel 14 on Comcast and Charter, Channel 11 on Mediacom, and over the air on 13.2.