ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – On Friday, the United Way of Southwest Virginia announced it will transform the former Kmart building in Abingdon into a new campus dedicated to regional workforce development.

The 87,000-square-foot property was purchased with assistance from Food City.

“This is a critical moment for United Way of Southwest Virginia and the communities we serve,” said Travis Staton, CEO and President of the United Way of Southwest Virginia. “It would not be possible without the generosity and support of Food City, who has partnered with us on the purchase of the property.”

United Way leadership said the hub, located at one of Abingdon’s busiest intersections, will help the region on its way to overcoming a lagging economy.

Some of the features that will be housed inside the hub include:

  • High-tech STEM labs for teacher training
  • A licensed, early childhood care and education center.
  • Workforce development and training programs
  • A shared services alliance to strengthen our region’s 208 existing childcare providers

Both the United Way and Food City officials said lack of childcare continues to plague Southwest Virginia on its way to further development.

“Like residents across our region, many of our associates struggle to find adequate childcare, and Food City is proud to partner with United Way of Southwest Virginia to make this much-needed multipurpose facility possible,” said Steven Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.

The United Way will be holding a fundraising campaign soon to allow philanthropists and companies a way to support the project.

Further details on the project are available online.