ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — City of Rockford officials want to strengthen causes close to home.

A new program is designed to gain experience in the construction trades, but it is going to do much more than that. The organizer said that he hopes to reframe minds and pour in substance to the young adults involved.

“Once you build anything in life, its hard to go back and destroy,” said Albert ‘Tank’ Weathers, a local pastor and contractor with LT Construction.

Weathers is an accomplished concrete finisher who has been in the trade for 26 years, but his life has not always been as smooth as his work. He once ran the streets of Rockford.

“When I started doing this trade, I knew the tools of the street. We knew guns, we knew bullets, but when I got into this trade, it was hammers, it was jackhammers, it was nails,” Weathers said. “So nails replaced the bullets.”

Weathers said that, as a local black-owned contractor, it is important to give the younger generation, who may have the same background as him, hope. However, he is not going at it alone.

“This really is a win for everyone,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “We’re going to have more sidewalks being done, which I think residents will love. We’re going to get some at-risk young adults working in our neighborhoods, some will be working in neighborhoods that they were once were kind of wreaking havoc in, but now they’ll be helping build these neighborhoods.”

The City of Rockford’s “Workforce Development Program” will give at-risk young adults mentoring and training that can lead to union jobs in the construction trade. The hope is that economic opportunities like this will help the city’s youth get on the right track, all while leaving a mark.

“The benefits is to go back and look at the work you’ve done and say, ‘I did that sidewalk, I did that drive way, my hands done that,’ and its something that everybody can feel good about,” Weathers said.

Weathers will recruit five people for the project, which the city will add on as paid employees.