As the Rock County area faces the highest unemployment rates in the state. Local leaders are gathering to share economic strategies. "We're never going to succeed, if we continue to work separately," says Forward Janesville's Vice President of Government of Relations Dan Cunningham. "I think working together in this current challenging economy is really the way to go. Hopefully this meeting was the next step in the process of really getting a regional effort to promote Rock County, in terms of economic development."

Cunningham says there are still areas of the county that are seeing economic growth, including food processing in Beloit. "Hormel is adding capacity. The Kerry Ingredients project is another that's going to be a big boon to that community." Cunningham also cites developments in Edgerton and Evansville as signs that the county's economy is not completely on the ropes, despite the loss of hundreds of jobs with the closure of Janesvilles's General Motors plant and related suppliers. Representatives from about 30 local municipalities business groups and educational institutions are meeting each six months to discuss strategy.

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