|RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced $1.2 million in grant funding to support the Ready SWVA project for increased childcare options in Southwest Virginia. Ready SWVA is an economic development project specifically targeted toward workforce expansion.
Support from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I Governor’s Set-Aside funds will enable Ready SWVA to create a new early childhood system to expand access to affordable childcare and strengthen the current network of providers.
“Finding quality, affordable and available childcare options for working families in Virginia has been an enduring challenge,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Expanding access to providers while strengthening the current network is a necessary step in the right direction.”
“Removing barriers that keep people out of the workforce is a key focus of the administration and childcare is a prime example,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “By supporting the childcare services network in Southwest Virginia, we can empower people to confidently enter the workforce and grow the economy in Southwest Virginia.”
“Working parents deserve childcare options that are affordable and reliable,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith. “And I was pleased to vote for the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides for today’s grant to help fund workforce development resources and expand access to childcare in Southwest Virginia.”
“Childcare is the critical infrastructure needed to support comprehensive economic development strategies to attract new talent, young families, and higher-paying jobs to our region,” said Travis Staton, President and CEO of the United Way of Southwest Virginia. “In addition to helping parents re-enter the workforce, we see Ready SWVA as a dual-generation investment. Through this public-private partnership, we will not only grow the number of teachers in the childcare industry, but we will be providing tomorrow’s workforce, our youngest citizens with more opportunities to learn and grow in a healthy environment.”
The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was signed into law on July 22, 2014. Under the ACT, Title I funds are available to states for the development and support programs that provide job search, education, and training activities for adult, youth, and dislocated workers seeking to gain or improve their employment prospects. Funds are also used to establish the one-stop delivery system for workforce development services.
Each year, the Governor has discretion over a portion of the funds that may be distributed to projects based on a competitive grant process. The exact cost of the Ready SWVA Childcare Initiative grant award is $1,240,316 and is 100 percent funded through a U.S. Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration grant.