New Partnership in Gadsden County Helps Small Businesses

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For Beth Padgett, keeping her family's jewelry store running has come with challenges.

Advertising and some bookkeeping, for example, is done the same way it's been done for more than 50 years.

"TCC will help us organize and help us become more computer trained. We're looking forward to that," says Padgett.

She's referring to a new initiative in Gadsden County aimed at helping to expand small businesses while decreasing the county's rate of unemployment.

Curtis Austin, president of Workforce Florida, says, "The unemployment rate is two percent higher than the other areas surrounding Leon County and the Tallahassee area."

Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor report Gadsden County with an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. That's higher than neighboring Leon and Wakulla Counties.

Tallahassee Community College, Florida A&M and the Gadsden County Chamber of Commerce have come together for Beacon Project.

"Our game plan here is pretty good. We have a lot of community partners and a great amount of community support. People seem to be willing to trust in us and trust in the community," says Bill Law, president of Tallahassee Community College.

Mark Lowe, spokesperson for the Beacon Project, says, "One of TCC's primary missions is to help the neighboring counties. We are not just talking about economic development, we are actually doing it."

Workforce Florida is funding half a million dollars for the two year project. All businesses and individuals looking to take part in the program can do so free of charge.

Those interested in the program can find more information at the TCC Quincy House located on North Adams Street in downtown Quincy.