Community Foundation of the NRV working to revitalize the childcare industry in Blacksburg

BLACKSBURG, Virginia (WDBJ) – The NRF Community Foundation is receiving more than $ 1 million to help revamp the child care system in Blacksburg over the next four years.

The goal is to attract more workers, and provide some incentives for current child care workers to keep up.

The money comes from the town of Blacksburg’s grant from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Child care centers in the New River Valley operate at about 1/3 of their licensed capacity,” said Jessica Wirgau, executive director of the NRV Community Foundation.

She says workers are leaving the childcare field at record numbers.

“This money is actually about helping to stem the flow of workers leaving the childcare sector, encouraging them to return and getting involved in early childhood education, and raising the profile of early childhood education,” he said. Wirgau said.

Matt Hanratty, the assistant to the Blacksburg town manager, also sees how important it is to make childcare accessible.

“In the past there was more of an issue related to real facilities, and there is still some of that need, especially among the newborns, but now it’s again about labor force stabilization, to retain that labor force and to retain a to have a livable wage, “he said.

Hanratty says he hopes it will put other organization into operation.

“As we all know, employment these days is difficult and getting good employees and retaining and retaining them, so hopefully it will help somewhat in the town and it can be grown over the NRV,” he said.

The plan is that this money will be used over the next four years in a pilot program in Blacksburg with the aim of expanding to more areas in the New River Valley.

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