United We Win: Collaborating for Change

Galax, VA (July 10, 2019) – Southwest Virginia is at a critical crossroads.  Population decline over the past two decades has depleted our workforce.  Losing workers has stressed our local economy, constantly reducing the resources available to build our children’s skills.  Because of this, United Way of Southwest Virginia is deploying bold strategies to help children progress from kindergarten to postsecondary completion and to a job.

Members of the United Way of Southwest Virginia Team provided an overview of these strategies to community business partners at the United We Win: Collaborating for Change Breakfast hosted at the Crossroads Institute in Galax, Virginia, this morning.

According to a December 2018 Chmura Economics & Analytics Economic Overview for Wythe, Carroll, Grayson, and Galax, “While all employment in Wythe, Carroll, Galax, and Grayson is projected to contract 0.1% over the next ten years, occupations typically requiring a postgraduate degree are expected to grow 1.0% per year, those requiring a bachelor’s degree are forecast to grow 0.3% per year, and occupations typically needing a 2-year degree or certificate are expected to grow 0.4% per year.”  Over the next ten years, while the overall job market shrinks in the area, job growth will occur in careers requiring advanced degrees.

United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating a healthy, well-educated, economically mobile workforce by making focused investments in children and youth to retain their talent, energy, and love for this region by preparing them for jobs here at home.

Because of United Way of Southwest Virginia’s unique partnerships with both the local business community and the school systems, social services sector, health care providers, and other critical community members, the organization can bring together diverse community members to unite in partnership to plan and work together, giving power to our entire region to build the ideal workforce of tomorrow.

Travis Staton, president and ceo at United Way of Southwest Virginia, stated, “Through a cradle-to-career continuum, we are leveraging our region’s strengths and collective assets to drive the much-needed generational change for the future of our region – not tweaks of the status quo.”


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, business, nonprofit 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.