We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides workforce services to individuals and businesses throughout far southwestern Virginia in the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Wise, and the City of Norton. Our support system helps job seekers overcome barriers they may face as they look for work while connecting them to our region's businesses for employment opportunities. While most workforce development boards in Virginia only operate the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs, we are uniquely positioned to pursue other funding as a nonprofit organization. As such, we have an array of specialized programs that help individuals with severe barriers, like substance abuse recovery and justice-system involvement. These programs work in harmony with WIOA to ensure the utmost success for each and every participant.
The Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board is located in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of Southwest Virginia. The SWVA WDB represents Virginia’s Workforce Area One and encompasses the communities of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise Counties, as well as, the City of Norton. Although it is a predominantly rural area, there is significant industrial development and business presence.
With the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board embarked on its journey to develop a workforce system that would provide a well-trained workforce compatible with both the needs of existing businesses and adaptable to the needs of prospective businesses. The process has been ever-changing and a struggle at times. With the enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, a new way of doing business followed, yet always with the same goal in mind:
The Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board is committed to improving the businesses and lives of people in this area. We help individuals obtain employment and further their careers. We empower businesses with key resources and support. While our work to leverage available programs and initiatives to support our region is ongoing, below are some of the crucial programs we currently champion to serve those that come to us for help:
WIOA Adult Program: For job seekers 18 years or older who face barriers (such as low income or lack of training) to enter or reenter the workforce.
WIOA Dislocated Worker Program: For job seekers that have lost their jobs (through no fault of their own) and need to reenter the workforce as quickly as possible. Additional funding is available to provide extra assistance with housing, childcare, uniforms and tools, and more.
WIOA Youth Program (INTRO): For young adults ages 16 - 24 who face barriers to entering the workforce. Barriers can include having a low family income, being in or aging out of foster care, or lacking critical academic skills. Additional funding is available in Dickenson and Tazewell counties for young adults who don’t meet WIOA eligibility and/or who are still in school.
Recovery Opportunities & Pathways to Employment Success (R.O.P.E.S.): For job seekers who are recovering from substance misuse disorder OR have a criminal background (an individual does not have to have both to qualify for the program). We help with on-the-job training, DMV fees and penalties, safe driving classes, mental health referrals, and more.
Living Expenses while Training Stipend (LETS Train): For job seekers that are un- or underemployed, live in Buchanan or Tazewell county, and are enrolled in a training program. We provide a monthly living stipend so that they are able to finish training and go to work.
Project Reconnect: For job seekers that face additional barriers due to former justice system involvement or criminal history living in Buchanan or Tazewell counties.
Cars to Work: For low-income job seekers or employed individuals who need transportation to and from work and live in Dickenson or Tazewell Counties.
A Step Ahead: For workers who have lost their jobs. We provide a monthly living stipend to individuals so that they can attend short-term training to hone their existing skills or enter a new career field.
We envision meeting the needs of our businesses and workers by enhancing skills to create a qualified, career-ready workforce that reflects the Southwest Virginia values of honesty, dependability, and resiliency.
Director of Operations and Finance
Director of Business Solutions
Director of Workforce Programs
Assistant Finance Director
Virginia Career Works - Wise Center Manager
We are the Chief Local Elected Officials (CLEOs) of the units of local government within the area who, along with the SWVA WDB, ensure alignment of economic development, fiscal policies, and strategic planning.
We represent local businesses, educational institutions, and mandated partners and are responsible for setting policies to ensure quality services while remaining compliant with the law. Over half of the Board’s membership consists of local business leaders.