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Note from the Mayor McNamara 

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Note from the Mayor McNamara

Earlier this week, I gave my State of the City address. I provided highlights from 2022 and pointed out some areas for improvement in 2023. Last year was an incredibly successful year. We saw financial stability, fantastic partnership with area organizations, improvements in our neighborhoods, a decrease in violent crimes and business growth throughout our community.


I also highlighted one of the programs I’m most proud of – the Rockford Promise NIU Scholarship program. Under the Promise program, students who live in Rockford, attend Rockford Public Schools and earn a 3.0 GPA, can attend Northern Illinois University tuition and general fee FREE.


As we close out the second year of this program, I am proud to tell you that more than 205 students are taking advantage of the RP NIU program. Of these participants, 65 percent are students of color and nearly 70 percent are first generation college going students.


Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to join Rockford Promise on stage of the historic Coronado Theater to celebrate this year’s class of 154 scholars, who will be attending NIU, Rockford University and Rock Valley College. When I sat on the stage, they showed a video montage of all the faces of the scholars, it was beautiful because it looked like Rockford – diverse and filled with hope and opportunity.


Rockford Promise is extremely beneficial to everyone. It changes the lives of the individuals and their families. And, if we change the individuals and their families, we can change the community. However, if you’re like Barbara and John McNamara, who worked hard and chose to send their kids to private schools, Rockford Promise still directly benefits you.


First, you now live in a community with higher educational attainment levels. Communities with higher educational attainment have lower rates of violence and more thriving economies. Second, when you go to sell your home, it now comes with a free college tuition for each school aged child in the house. That’s an incredible selling point and a competitive advantage.


However, we know that college isn’t the path for everyone. That’s why we have also invested in work force development programs. For example, we partnered with LT Construction, a local minority-owned concrete construction contractor, to provide mentorship, experience and workforce development skills to young adults that represented at-risk and underserved populations of our community. Last summer, the interns built more than two miles of sidewalks. But more importantly, each of the interns was accepted into a union apprenticeship program. We are continuing the program this summer with a new group of young adults. This program is changing the lives of these young adults and their families, while simultaneously improving neighborhood infrastructure.


I am proud of our progress. I know that working together we can make Rockford a place that everyone is proud to call home.





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