The unemployment rate in the Rockford area is a staggering 15-percent.. among the highest in the *country. Local leaders have a major task on their hands.. to turn those number around.In tonight's Economy Rockford report we look at the latest plan among those leaders.
Development expert Janyce Fadden says our biggest problem is lack of diversification.
So the 'Rockforward' plan aims to change that.
The target is new business and investment opportunities. And the focus is on five key areas.. creating a thriving business climate.. and honing in on markets.. workforce.. infrastructure and emerging opportunities.
Fadden says the plan has been amended several times throughout the downturn.
Leaders have been able to identify new growth areas like aerospace and industrial manufacturing. But education continues to be the biggest challenge.
"The types of things were qualified for today pay less than some of the jobs that are being eliminated in our community. and the major way for us to right side that is to increase the education. so that its really about the future of the community. we are seeking opportunities for the employees we have today."
More than four-thousand jobs were lost in the Rockford area in 2008. However... new business and expansion efforts like Wanxiang and the new FMS call center have added more than 11-hundred jobs this year.