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Next Rockford! Or is it – Next Rockford?

There is a big difference between a (!) and a (?).

Perhaps you have wondered:

  • What is Next Rockford?
  • Who joins Next Rockford?
  • Why does Next Rockford matter?

Let’s start with the last question first:  Why does Next Rockford matter?

Studies show that baby-boomer retirements over the next ten years will result in a 1,000,000 worker shortage per year.  To be clear, that is a 10,000,000 worker shortage across the country.  And when it comes to people ages 25-44 years-old, Rockford has a lower population for this demographic compared to the state and national average.

So, what does that have to do with Next Rockford?  The answer is simple: this group is made-up of people in this important demographic – a group that our community needs for short-term and long-term success.  Although Next Rockford is not the sole voice of this age group (far from it actually), it is an important voice.  That being said, I thought I would share 10 Things You Should Know About Next Rockford:

1.  Next Rockford is an all-volunteer, 70-member network of Gen X and Y leaders who live, work, and play in the Rockford area.

2.  Next Rockford includes professionals from the business, political, and non-profit community.

3.  Next Rockford members include elected officials and several who are actively involved running Republican and Democratic Campaigns.

4.  Next Rockford members serve as directors on local boards and volunteer throughout the Rockford region.  This, coupled with the fact that members are employed at a wide-range of large and small businesses, extends the network of this Gen X and Y group deep into the fabric of the Rockford community.

5.  Next Rockford members include people who are new to the area as well as a large number of long-time Rockford residents.  Both perspectives are important.

6.  Next Rockford is not affiliated with a political party.  The group includes liberals, conversatives, and independents.  If you don’t believe me, a quick review of previous Next Rockford blog posts will drive this point home.  The important thing is that this politically-diverse group comes together on issues that will move Rockford forward.

7.  Next Rockford engages on issues related to:

  • Business Development
  • Government Affairs
  • Urban Development
  • Education
  • Civic  Engagement

8.  Next Rockford has publicly supported a number of important initiatives in recent years:

  • Better Schools Brighter Futures Campaign
  • Local vs. national superintendent search
  • Reclaiming First sports initiative
  • Return to neighborhood school zones
  • Embry-Riddle initiative
  • Northwest Illinois Blackhawk Express initiative
  • 5% sales tax referendum
  • Charter schools

9.  Next Rockford does not endorse political candidates; however, political candidates have endorsed the Next Rockford platform.

10.  Next Rockford members learn about issues facing the greater Rockford area at monthly meetings on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 am at the YWCA.  Previous meeting topics have included:

  • Candidate forums
  • RPS 205 Superintendent & Leadership Team
  • Housing Authority
  • Woodward and Rock Valley College on-site visits
  • Business, political, and teacher panel discussions
  • Rockford Area Economic Development Council
  • Mayor, States Attorney , and other political leaders

Next Rockford has accomplished much the past ten years and needs the continued involvement of passionate Gen X and Y’ers to ensure that the group continues to serve our great community.  If you would like to hear more about Next Rockford, please call me at (815) 979-9121 or join us Thursday, November 8 at 7:30 am at the YWCA for our November Meeting.

Help ensure that Rockford’s future is an (!) and not a (?).

Frank Haney

Next Rockford Facilitator

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2 Comments

  1. Jeff Glass

    Nice column, Frank. I am fired up for NR and would encourage others to join.

  2. James Patteson

    Great article and good description of Next Rockford! I’m looking forward to other Gen X/Y-ers joining up and helping make Rockford an even better place to live, work & play!