The connection between quality education and economic growth is more than a nice idea. It is essential to everyone’s future. Everyone!

Jake Castanza knows Illinois needs to rethink public education in the state. It’s the only way our schools can help the students of today become the innovators of tomorrow. He also knows that quality education paired with integrated training programs contributes greatly to the strength of a community’s economic growth.

“Preparing workers to compete in a changing economy is how we open the door to sustainable, good jobs that keep or attract young people to the area. It’s also a way to make sure there are more career options for older workers. I know from experience it’s a formula that works!”

Jake sees the Rockford area a magnet for companies seeking a well-trained workforce. He believes efforts like restoring vocational training in high schools and expanding worker training programs in community colleges are ideas that will make this a reality.

His own experience creating a program that trains young people in the building trades gives Jake real-world proof that focused educational resources benefit individuals and the communities they live in. Jake Castanza understands how to connect the dots—and move us forward.