June 10, 2013


West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board awards Smart Beginnings $10,000 
~Outgoing board members recognized for their leadership~


MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012) - The West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board (WPWIB) awarded on Monday the region's Smart Beginnings network $10,000 to help build the region's infrastructure for a Virginia Star Quality Initiative (VSQI).

VSQI rates the quality of licensed public and private preschool and childcare providers.

According to WPWIB Chairman Jim Daniel, the workforce pipeline does not begin in high school, but as early as preschool and childcare.

"Research shows that positive early childhood experiences dramatically improve children's opportunities for success in school and life. Equipping all of our region's preschools and childcare providers with intensive professional development services is a good investment to advance the quality of our emerging workforce," Daniel said.

Funds will be used to recruit and train three raters and 10 mentors in the board's service area of Danville and Martinsville and the counties of Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania.

Raters evaluate participating childcare programs; and with the evaluations, mentors work one-on-one with childcare owners, administers and/or instructors to make needed improvements to get star ratings over an agreed length of time.

"As this star quality initiative grows, we anticipate that early childhood educators will be asking how their centers can become high performing settings," Daniel said. Smart Beginnings is a network of locally operated coalitions that are working to improve the quality of care and education for children from birth until kindergarten in the Commonwealth. Currently, there are Smart Beginnings networks in Danville-Pittsylvania and Martinsville-Henry County. Patrick County is in early planning stages of creating a Smart Beginnings network.

Also on Monday at its October board meeting, the WPWIB recognized outgoing board member Jerry Hughes for his decade-long service on the board. He recently relocated to Independence, Virginia, to accept the town manager position there. Hughes was formerly the executive director of the Patrick County Education Foundation.

The board also recently recognized Barbara Redd for her service on the board. She recently retired from the Virginia Employment Commission as manager of the Martinsville office.

WPWIB funds and monitors the region's four Virginia Workforce Centers and numerous employment services and training programs for employers, jobseekers and the youth.