Virginia Early Childhood Foundation & Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke Support School Readiness with Robust Early Childhood Systems

Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke, part of United Way of Roanoke Valley, is the recipient of a workforce development grant from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.
The $110,000 grant* will be used to pilot an innovative regional professional development system aligning quality improvement networks, higher education institutions and apprenticeship opportunities over the next two years.

Apprenticeship programs offer both the financial supports and opportunities to learn on the job to remain working full-time while pursuing higher education.  By selecting high quality programs, Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke will be able to address retention within their sites and professional development simultaneously.

“Enticing apprentices and sites with incentives to participate encourages programs and participants to follow through the process all the way to completion. This pathway works to reduce or eliminate the dilemma referred to as the skills gap,” said Vivien McMahan, Director of Early Learning Strategies at UWRV.

Early Childhood Education has been identified as a high need area for building a stronger workforce in Virginia. This workforce development grant is one of several awarded to systems that most effectively support school readiness through data-driven approaches that address the needs of families with young children.


*This project is supported by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Grant #CCECD-18-211, with FY20 funds made available to Virginia from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services TANF. 100%/$560,000 of this project was funded by the above federal funds. Non of the awards will be supported by nongovernmental sources. The above content does not represent the official views of VDSS, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Government.


About United Way of Roanoke Valley

United Way of Roanoke Valley has been dedicated to improving lives in our community for 94 years, proudly serving the citizens of Roanoke, Salem, Vinton and the counties of Botetourt, Franklin, Craig and Roanoke. UWRV fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community and works to create sustainable solutions to challenges.  To learn more about United Way visit