Jina Belcher of NRGRDA To Speak at April 30 Oak Hill Town Hall on Childcare

Issues Hindering Business and Economic Development

Oak Hill, W.Va. (March 7, 2024) – Jina Belcher, Executive Director of the New River Gorge
Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), is slated to address stakeholders and citizens
attending the 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 30 “A State Without Child Care” Town Hall Series at Lively
Family Amphitheater on Main Street in Oak Hill, W.Va.
Belcher said, ”West Virginia ranks 50th in child care accessibility, and 64% of West Virginians
live in a child care desert. Adequate and affordable child care is the backbone of a productive
and ready workforce and a region must possess this critical service to experience job growth,
business retention, and new business attraction. NRGRDA is adding its voice to the collective
group seeking state tax credits and incentives for child care and an expansion of the tax credit
the Legislature enacted in 2023 for the development of more child care facilities in our
communities. We’re fortunate to have the strong voice of Melissa Colagrosso, owner of A Place
To Grow, representing our region’s childcare needs and NRGRDA will staunchly advocate for
innovative solutions to support childcare. ”

As working mother, Belcher said we need more business leaders to attend these town hall
meetings and to get actively involved in sharing data about how the lack of accessible and
affordable child care hinders our communities and the state overall.
The West Virginia Association for Young Children and West Virginia Chamber of Commerce are
collaborating to encourage the West Virginia Legislature to act on childcare deficiencies during
the May Special Session. This free community forum open to the public is one of 10 being held
statewide to educate citizens on local, state and federal policies and activities that could help
enhance childcare opportunities. Other town halls are being held in these locations:
Bridgeport – April 9
Charleston – TBD
Huntington – May 7
Keyser – TBD
Lewisburg – April 23
Parkersburg – May 9
Princeton – May 2
Shenandoah Junction – May 8
Weirton – April 11
Wheeling – April 17
Belcher joined leaders from across WV at the state’s annual “Child Care Day” at the Legislature
on February 14 (Valentine’s Day) to meet with legislators and call attention to the child care
needs of employers, college students, and families.