The White House is moving forward with another round of its Strong Cities, Strong Communities program. The initiative lends federal expertise to struggling areas. The city of Rockford is part of the latest group.
Leaders in Rockford acknowledge they have a lot of challenges they need to address, including high unemployment. They hope being selected for the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program will help them take a major step in improving certain areas. According to a statement from Mayor Larry Morrissey’s office, the guidance will give them an extra tool in leveraging resources in a host of areas, including crime, housing, education and underemployment.
Laurie Preece is with Alignment Rockford, a non-profit education group. She says they key here is getting tips on how to improve collaboration- something she says isn't always easy.
“ When a community struggles, it’s because communication is strained. And that’s the focus of this technical support – to develop stronger cooperations between community organizations, local leadership and the federal government,” Preece said.
Still, Preece says this isn’t the federal government coming in and telling local leaders how to run things. She says it’s an opportunity to enhance local strategies.
The program will also help cities like Rockford learn to cut through red tape at the federal level.