ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A trio of Rockford business advocacy groups are joining forces … permanently.

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC), and the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership have agreed to merge.

The groups have been working under a partnership since 2019, and all three governing boards approved the merger on Thursday.

Together, they will be known as the Greater Rockford Chamber of Commerce. The economic development committee work will focus on efforts to attract, retain, and grow businesses for/in our region to cultivate primary job growth in the region.

“This merger helps ensure a proactive and consolidated approach to business recruitment and retention for our region,” said Jean Crosby, Board Chair, Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “We have the unique and exciting opportunity to advance a common agenda to support our current businesses, new businesses, and vital organizations in our community.”

A new board will be formed with members from each organization.

A CEO has not yet been named, but the position is expected to be filled by the end of the year.

Until the CEO is named, Caitlin Pusateri, President of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, will report to the to-be-named board chair.

The merger will be finalized by the end of September.