Small quaint stores adorn the downtown square in Jefferson County. County officials say the owners of these unique shops don't require large payrolls and therefore aren't able to hire a lot of local residents, and that's forcing many to look elsewhere for employment.
County Commissioner Danny Monroe says, "The people who live here, most of them have to go out of the county to get jobs, Leon or some other county to work, and a lot of them are driving long hours back and forth to work, so we need something here."
Economic Development Council members say the prison and school system are the top employers in Jefferson County and they're hoping to attract more companies like Florida Safe Rider to bring in jobs for area residents.
County officials are hoping to attract clean, pollution free companies that pay above minimum wage while adding to the county's coffers.
Danny Monroe adds, "We also need just better paying jobs, but industries they will pay taxes better, which we really need to keep the county going."
It’s a county that's seeing a decline in residents because of the absence of high paying jobs.
Agriculture and timber companies once dominated the area providing the majority of jobs. Now the prison and the school board are the main employers.
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