Looks like a newly announced federal grant will be bringing a large number of jobs to the Forest City.

This past Wednesday, May 15th it was announced by U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos the U.S Department of Transportation will be giving the Chicago Rockford International Airport a grant to the tune of $9 million.

But this could be just the beginning for the local airport according to Director Mike Dunn. Considering the airport has already asked the Dept. of Transportation for a total of $35 million.

The $35 million is for a massive 15-acre expansion to the cargo apron so that a larger amount of cargo jets may park at RFD.

It appears as though Pinnacle Logistics has already stated that it plans on adding 500 jobs at the airport because of the cargo-related growth they've seen.

They currently employ 235 people who provide supply chain management and ground services for Amazon's Prime Air cargo fleet.

Prime Air cargo peak period of activity starts in October and continues throughout the Christmas season.

This has the opportunity to create an even high demand for cargo work, which would make Pinnacle have to hire additional people on top of the 500 that was announce on Wednesday by  Pinnacle Vice President of Operations Peter Weir.

"There is so much opportunity for this growth here in Rockford," Weir said.

Airport officials have made it easy for Pinnacle to find success here at Chicago Rockford International Airport. Gathering all the security badges and permits for employees can be rather difficult but in Rockford, that's not the case.

Weir said:

These guys are on the ball and they do their background checks very quickly and they work with us all the time."

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara had this to say on the positive feedback coming from RFD:

To hear firsthand from a company that doing business is easy in Rockford, and specifically at this airport, that's exciting to hear,"It means we're on the right track,and we're doing the right things."

As Amazon continues to build its own air cargo network, Rockford appears to be a part in that. It is a part of the national hub-and-spoke cargo distribution system that Amazon is learning how to operate now.

This sounds like it could continue to bring jobs to the community for some time to come. No word as to when they will start looking to fill those 500 jobs.

[ChicagoTribune.com]