Q2030 is highlighting a successful year of partnerships that support transforming the Quad Cities into a more cool, creative, connected and prosperous region by bringing Quad Citizens together, capitalizing on the region’s greatest asset – the Mississippi River – and engaging young people.

From taking steps to replace lead water service lines to expanding access to quality childcare and creating new career development opportunities for high school students, Q2030 is sharing progress in several projects vital to creating a vibrant, thriving and inclusive community, according to a group release Wednesday.

Q2030 works alongside existing community partners, including four champion organizations — QC Chamber, QC Community Foundation, United Way Quad Cities and Visit Quad Cities — to collectively advance the region. Q2030 is a leading advocate for convening Quad Citizens to accelerate a more cool, creative, connected and prosperous community for all.

Q2030 became a 501(c)(3) organization in October 2021, enlisting 14 diverse board members representing business, government, nonprofit and education sectors within the region.

Q2030 executive director Kate Jennings

“Q2030 is lucky to have board members who are deeply engaged in the community and committed to advancing regional collaboration through their involvement in many other initiatives,” executive director Kate Jennings said in the release. “We know that to truly achieve bold regional transformation, our community must support intensified and expanded collaboration.”

Q2030 defines mission and focus areas

Through strategic planning and insights from champion partners, Q2030 board members established four focus areas – the Mississippi riverfront, youth engagement, childcare workforce and regional collaboration.

The board believes Q2030 can have measurable impact by creating a riverfront plan that excites people and encourages more investment. It works to encourage to encourage community organizations to share ideas and best practices through regional collaboration. Q2030 also commits to creating partnerships that engage young people in career development and bring more parents into the workforce through investment in dependable childcare options.

LaDrina Wilson is the new CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber.

Q2030 also commits to assuring diversity and equity are always top of mind. In January, board members successfully completed DEI training with LaDrina Wilson, founder of Iman Consulting and now CEO of the Chamber. Next, the organization will launch a welcoming and inclusivity survey for community members to provide input for ways our region can better engage and support traditionally underrepresented populations.

Q2030 helps launch Childcare Workforce program

Q2030 is proud of its support for investments in quality, affordable childcare. When the pandemic stressed an already taxed childcare system, Q2030 worked with the city of Moline to launch the first-of-its-kind Childcare Workforce Infrastructure Forgivable Loan Program. This program is expected to invest $500,000 in childcare providers, facilities and staffing.

This investment is meant to help the city retain its current daycare providers while offering the financial opportunity for expansion. Based on applications received, there is already the potential for another 160 childcare slots to open in Moline because of this funding, with more slots to come as additional applications are approved. 

Q2030 partnership in water line project

Q2030 also helped jump-start a major initiative involving Western Illinois University (WIU) Quad Cities and the City of Silvis that helps ensure the region’s drinking water is lead-free.

Through connections and collaboration with Q2030, WIU engineering and geographical information students completed a survey of lead water lines in Silvis by going door-to-door taking inventory of the service lines. Silvis then used this information to put in place the first phase of a water service line replacement project under an Illinois state law in effect as of January 2022.

Q2030 plans fall forums

Q2030 executive director Kate Jennings is inviting more people to share their perspectives through new community forums starting in September. The first forum will be held on Sept. 8, 2022 and is centered around the importance of childcare to the business community.

According to Ready Nation, childcare gaps in Illinois and Iowa cost working families and employers nearly $3 billion in lost earnings, productivity and revenue in 2019.

“Childcare is an incredibly critical issue facing our families and our business community,” Jennings said. “We will be working with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and United Way Quad Cities to convene leaders in the business community to discuss ways to develop and support more childcare friendly practices.”

“As we continue to face workforce and education challenges from the pandemic, I cannot think of a more important initiative than childcare workforce development. A prosperous region requires that we invest early and often in our youngest citizens and those who provide direct services to them,” said Rev. Dwight Ford, Chair of the Q2030 Board.

Rev. Dwight Ford is executive director of Rock Island-based Project NOW.

“Working together we can leverage the strength of the Quad Cities Region to expand early childhood education opportunities in preparation for our future while at the same time work to ensure adequate resources for our childcare workforce.” 

Forums are also planned for October and November 2022 around work-based learning opportunities for high school students.  Discussions will be held with organizations investing in work-based learning and with students who are under-represented in current efforts to continue with college or vocational training. By addressing gaps in these opportunities, Q2030 believes the region can add 1,200 young adults to the workforce every year.

Helping young people

“I believe that it is our region’s greatest responsibilities and opportunities to light the inner fire of young people and those who had a rough start,” said Rene Gellerman, Q2030 board member and president/CEO of United Way QC.

Rene Gellerman is president/CEO of United Way QC.

“Every student should have the opportunity to explore the work-based learning opportunities to give them a chance to discover what they enjoy doing and meet people who get to do it for a living. This will help set our students up to graduate high school prepared to succeed in career or college.”

Q2030 sees unlimited potential in optimizing riverfront access and utilization, especially in spaces vacated by the old I-74 bridge.

Q2030 plans to engage city leaders from across the area to participate in conversations about amplifying our riverfront amenities. This initiative is meant to bring together each city’s riverfront amenities and existing plans into a regional tool for public use.

“Our global asset and world-renowned Mississippi River is a point of unique distinction, a connector, and a leverageable opportunity for our regional destination,” said Dave Herrell, Q2030 board member and presidentCEO of Visit Quad Cities. “Our family of communities have transformative ideas and plans that we can amplify together boldly and collaboratively as we further our brand and story.

“If the vision is to become an internationally recognized riverfront destination, building a platform at the regional level best positions the Quad Cities of the future,” he added.

To learn more, visit the Q2030 website.