For Immediate Release: United Way of Southwest Virginia, Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia announce funding commitment for new Workforce Development & Childcare Center
|Press Contact: Ryan Dye, Marketing and Communications Manager United Way of Southwest Virginia 276.525.4055 firstname.lastname@example.org|
(Cutline: in italics. Photo: United Way of Southwest Virginia)
Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia has committed $4 million towards the new center located inside the former Abingdon Kmart
Abingdon, VA (June 1, 2023) – United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) is excited to announce a funding commitment of $4 million from Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia for a Workforce Development & Childcare Center.
“We are pleased to partner with the United Way of Southwest Virginia and others on such an important project,” said Bill Hayter, chair of the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia Board of Directors. “The creation of a regional childcare center touches on all five of the areas of interest to the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia. It’s an honor to be able to provide support to a project of this magnitude that will have a transformational impact on our region.”
In addition to a childcare center, the 86,000 square foot center will also house STEM labs for teacher training, Shared Services Alliance to support existing childcare centers, and an innovative, hands-on career simulation center to showcase local jobs and career paths for K-12.
“As we learned in our community health needs assessment, insufficient access to childcare is a major factor in loss of young talent in the workforce,” said Sean McMurray, executive director of the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia. “Leveraging collaborative partnerships with United Way of Southwest Virginia and other local organizations is a great step in addressing the dire need for additional childcare in our region as well as making a positive impact on meeting critical workforce needs.”
One of the key elements of the facility will be a permanent, year-round workforce exploration center that connects students from across Southwest Virginia with hands-on career simulation and economic prosperity resources. Through year-round activities, including field days and camps, it is estimated that 30,000 students will visit the center. Accompanying curriculum and activities will align with Virginia Department of Education’s 17 career clusters and will help spur interest in the manufacturing and STEM jobs available in our region.
“This charitable funding is one more piece of the puzzle falling into place,” explained Travis Staton, President & CEO at United Way of Southwest Virginia. “A project of this magnitude, that will have an impact for generations, depends on cross-sector commitment and generous philanthropy. We are grateful to Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia for their continued commitment and partnership.”
The 86,000 square foot facility is expected to be open and fully operational in July or August of 2024. In addition to creating nearly 100 jobs, the new facility will also reinvigorate and modernize the sleepy shopping center where the former Kmart was located. Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia joins Food City and the Town of Abingdon as partners for the new center. Additional funding is expected to be announced, along with a groundbreaking ceremony later this summer.
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United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change. With a footprint that covers nearly 20% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford.
About the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia
Established in the fall of 2021, the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia exists to enhance the health and well-being for the Virginia residents of Washington, Grayson, Russell, and Smyth counties by cultivating goal-oriented partnerships. For more information, visit www.wellspringva.org.