Plants Map co-founder Bill Blevins with Plants Map tags. Photo by Plants Map.

Plants Map, Rappahannock Goodwill Partner on Workforce Development

by | Nov 7, 2015 | Business

By Susan Larson

Fredericksburg based Plants Map has teamed with Rappahannock Goodwill Industries on an innovative workforce development initiative.

Workers in Rappahannock Goodwill’s job skills training program will receive training from Plants Map staff to handle all aspects of the manufacturing and shipping of Plants Map’s durable horticultural signs and tags.

The tags display a QR code allowing anyone with a smartphone to access that plant’s unique webpage on PlantsMap.com. “They are the tools that connect plants in the ground with the rich array of plant information and community on PlantsMap.com,” said Bill Blevins, Plants Map co-founder and CEO.

“Almost everyone I talk to about Plants Map has plant photos on their phone, or a story about plants or a gardening project that has had a real impact on their community,” Blevins said. “Our interactive tags connect people with those really cool stories. Collaborating with Rappahannock Goodwill to produce them gives us the ability to scale our manufacturing process. We provide training on our computers and laser engravers and they provide the workforce. It’s a win-win. Social good, job creation and connecting more people with plants.”

Rappahannock Goodwill has brought Plants Map into its Collaboration Zone, a unique area of its new headquarters in Fredericksburg that brings Goodwill workers together with groups from the community who can help further Goodwill’s mission of providing job training to individuals with barriers to employment, particularly those with disabilities. “The collaborative environment allows us to help people with a variety of barriers reach their full potential, both on and off the job,” said Rappahannock Goodwill’s Chief Financial Officer Donnie Tolson, who will serve as CEO beginning January 2016.

“Rappahannock Goodwill’s collaboration Plants Map gives its workers an opportunity to gain new technical skills and be part of a fast-growing business,” Blevins said. The workers will learn to operate a state-of-the-art laser engraver that etches the aluminum tags. They will also handle the inventory, packaging and shipping of the signs and tags.

The social gardening tech startup Plants Map won the 2014 Made in FredVA business startup competition. Plants Map’s community of plant enthusiasts and professionals has grown in one year to more than 1,000 universities, businesses, individuals, schools, plant societies, garden clubs and similar groups.


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