Q2030 plan reaches out to young professionals to grow region

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Local leaders call on a regional approach to add young professionals and make the Quad Cities recognized globally by 2030.

After lengthy study and preparations, a long-range plan called Q2030 was unveiled Thursday at Modern Woodmen Park.

Some 150 business and community leaders have been working with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce on the project.

"We want to grow those people that are 25 to 34," said Kent Pilcher, Estes Construction.

That sounds good to Christie Bailey, who studies and works in the Quad Cities.

"It's setting us young professionals up for success," she said.

Bailey, 31, is joining the movement to add 54,000 young professionals to the region by 2030.

"They're getting it ready for us," she continued.  "Getting it ready for our children.  We're going to have jobs, and we're going to attract new talent."

That means finding better ways to connect education to careers.

The plan wants to double the percentage of workforce with education beyond high school.

"What keeps me here is not any one city or any one thing," said Kelly Thompson, who stayed in the area after graduating from Augustana College.  "It's the whole Quad Cities."

Volunteer "Champions" like Thompson are stepping up to connect the community with the next generation.

"When people act like we are one Quad Cities and believe that, then that will draw more people here and keep more people around," she said.

During times when money is scarce and there's more uncertainty on both sides of the river, working together becomes more important than ever.

As big employers like the Rock Island Arsenal and Deere & Company tangle with cutbacks and layoffs, Q2030 calls on a unified, regional approach to be the most competitive.

"We have to take the regional approach we have," said Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley.  "Be sure that the river is a connector, not a divider."

Christie Bailey thought about moving away but is sticking around.

"I want to stay here because I can see how the area can grow," she concluded.

For a complete look at plans, check out Q2030.org

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