United Way Of SWVA to open workforce hub – Nonprofit will convert former Kmart in Abingdon
Virginia Business – Published May 22, 2023 by Katherine Schulte
The United Way of Southwest Virginia plans to convert an 87,000-square-foot former Kmart in Abingdon into a workforce development hub, an estimated $23 million project, the United Way chapter, Food City, and town of Abingdon announced. Construction is set to begin in July, and UWSWVA expects to open the building in July or August 2024. So far, the nonprofit has raised $14 million for the project. The model situates the Abingdon building as the initiative’s primary anchor campus, with four smaller facilities across the region serving as spokes.
The hub will house:
- STEM labs for teacher training;
- A licensed early childhood care and education center;
- Workforce development and training programs;
- And a shared services alliance consolidating back office functions for the 208 childcare providers in the region.
The hub serves as part of UWSWVA’s Ready SWVA childcare initiative, which the chapter launched in December 2021 to expand access to affordable childcare, strengthen the provider network and increase the number of credentialed teachers in the region. The chapter expects to create at least 324 additional childcare slots for children under age 5.
Food City, owned by K-VA-T Food Stores, partnered with UWSWVA, lowering the price of the building well below fair market value, according to UWSWVA. The nonprofit bought the building for $3 million. UWSWVA will also begin a fundraising campaign for the project. The chapter secures $11 in grants for every $1 donated. UWSWVA also has “multiple corporate philanthropy and sponsorship opportunities in the works,” according to a news release.