The Faces of Economic Development - Maria Duarte

Jul 07, 2021

Economic development is tasked with creating meaningful employment opportunities. Hearing testimonies from Hardee County citizens who have improved their life, found stability, and increased their skill sets is what motivates and encourages the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and Economic Development Council (EDC). Maria Duarte was working as a laborer until she became employed by R. Riveter, a company recruited to Hardee County.

“I give thanks to GOD for this place of employment in my community,” Maria shares. “I always wanted to work somewhere inside in the air conditioning instead of outside in the hot blazing Florida sun. I always thought it would be impossible. When my friend Eziquia told me about the job at R.Riveter, I told her we should go check it out and apply.”

Maria recounts her first experience at R. Riveter. The opportunity seemed too good to be true. “ They offered that I could come in and use their commercial sewing machines to practice whenever I could after work.  I came in for 2 weeks every day and practiced for 2-3 hours a day.”

Maria credits her success to the opportunity of learning a new skill set and being encouraged by the people around her. “When we saw how all those sewing steps came together and the result of our first handbag creation, it was [an] amazing and an incredible feeling.”

“Economic development is multifaceted, but keeping people at the heart of what we do puts everything in perspective,” shares Krystin Chapman, Hardee County Economic Development Communications Coordinator.  Maria is another testimony of the impact economic development has on the people of Hardee County.



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