UWSWVA, Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia announce funding commitment for new Workforce Innovation & Childcare Center
June 01, 2023
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 the 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 child care 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 87,000-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 87,000-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.