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GO Virginia State Board Approves Region One Project

The GO Virginia State Board announced the approval of five projects from three regions funded through GO Virginia regional per capita grants totaling $1,115,300. Among the projects is United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Ignite Internships program in Region One. 

United Way of Southwest Virginia will receive $250,000 in GO Virginia funding to expand their Ignite Internships program. The two-year project includes a capacity building platform that provides activities to encourage post-secondary education, streamlines work credentialing, provides work-based learning opportunities and matches new graduates with local employers through a web-based platform. The expansion addresses an underpinning strategy of the Region One Growth and Diversification Plan by aligning education and training programs with employer demand.

Chrystal Brown, Director of Education for United Way of Southwest Virginia said, “United Way of Southwest Virginia is excited to build upon the success of our current Ignite Program aimed at connecting the worlds of learning and work by adding a new component — internships. Through the internships component of the Ignite Program, we will partner with 17 school systems to align credentialing, create meaningful project-based learning and offer invaluable work experience so that Southwest Virginia's young people graduate from high school career-ready and actively engaged in their communities. We are grateful for the support of GO Virginia, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with students, parents, educators and employers to inspire and equip tomorrow's workforce, together.”

Chair of Region One Mike Quillen expressed his enthusiasm for this project and applauds the concurrence of the State Board. “I think this is one of the more innovative and promising projects for the future of not only Southwest Virginia but the Commonwealth. Coordination between our secondary schools and prospective employers is critical to educating our young people in opportunities available to them, providing skills and experiences that will make them and our region’s workforce more valuable. Providing our existing and future employers with a skilled and informed workforce is a win-win."  

The GO Virginia State Board was highly impressed with the project and acknowledged it as a model for the state. The GO Virginia Region One Council recommended the Ignite Internships program to the State Board at the March 2018 meeting.

The GO Virginia regional per capita funding is awarded on a rolling basis based on each region’s application processes. Region One has two “How to Apply Workshops” scheduled for April 24 at Southwest Virginia Community College and April 30 at the Wytheville Meeting Center. For more information or to register, contact Robyn Lee at

About GO Virginia

The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity in Each Region (GO Virginia) was initiated by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) and the Council on Virginia’s Future to foster private-sector growth and job creation through state incentives for regional collaboration by business, education and government. Recognizing the harsh effect of deep federal budget cuts on a Virginia economy that is overly dependent on public-sector jobs, business leaders formed the GO Virginia campaign to work for regional cooperation on private-sector growth, job creation and career readiness.

GO Virginia Region One covers the 13 counties in the three planning districts that represent Southwest Virginia. The Region One Council is mostly made up of private sector business leaders and some members of the public sector and higher education. The University of Virginia’s College at Wise serves as the support organization for the Region One Council.

For more information on GO Virginia, visit

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