The Roanoke Valley. Courtesy of the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs around Southwest and Southside:

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Roanoke Regional Partnership opens registration for talent retention

Get2KnowNoke, the talent attraction arm of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, has officially opened registration for Onboard|ROA. The eight-week program offers in-person professional development training and connects student interns, new hires, remote workers and young professionals ages 18 through 25 to the Roanoke Region community, employers and desirable amenities.  

Onboard|ROA begins on June 5, with weekly programming running through August 4. The  program is supplemental to an employer onboarding process marrying soft-skill development, social connectivity and regional orientation to help young professionals connect with their work, one another and their community.  

Participants will attend career-readiness training like “Teamwork & Building Your Workplace” and “Career & Self Development,” as well as outings like Treetop Quest at Explore Park or dinner and a concert at 5 Points Music Sanctuary. All professional development workshops are facilitator led and follow the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) career readiness curriculum. The social outings are curated specifically to highlight the region’s outdoor assets and cultural amenities, creating a “stickiness” for the region.

Talent attraction and retention is a top initiative in the Partnership’s five-year strategic plan.  

A version of this program was hosted by Get2KnowNoke in 2019, with the most significant  differences being it was exclusive to student interns, and employers had to register on their  behalf. The program is now open to any intern or young professional (ages 18-25) working and living in the Roanoke Region of Virginia. That includes remote workers employed by companies outside of the Roanoke Region.  

Onboard|ROA will host 50 participants, and, thanks to a donation from Roanoke Blacksburg  Technology Council (RBTC), scholarships are available for almost half of those spaces.  Participants can register through their employer or apply on their own. The program is  $150/person for employers who are investors of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, and  $225/person for individuals or employers who are not investors of the Partnership. Deadline to  apply is May 29, 2023. 

To view the entire schedule, learn more, and register for Onboard|ROA by going to or download the promotional flyer.  

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UVA Wise director of community and business development offers classes for businesses who want to go online

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise’s director of community and business development is embarked on two projects to help grow online businesses in Southwest Virginia.

Courtney Stringer, a UVA Wise alumna who holds her B.S. in business administration and has an M.B.A. from King University, will begin teaching classes in both Abingdon and St. Paul.  The first one, “Get Your Local Business on Google Search and Maps,” will be held in Abingdon at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center on April 26 at 6 p.m. and in St. Paul at UVA Wise’s Oxbow Center at 6 p.m. on May 15. That workshop will teach small business owners how to increase online presence by placement on Google Search and Maps.

For more information or to sign up for a workshop,

She also will serve as Downtown Wytheville’s digital coach. The program is part of a new economic development partnership with Downtown Wytheville, Main Street America and Grow with Google.

Downtown Wytheville Inc. is one of 10 organizations across the U.S. recently chosen to work with Main Street America to expand Google’s digital skills program across Virginia, including rural communities of Southwest Virginia.

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Gainsboro neighbohood report to be presented April 25

The Gainsboro Neighborhood Center Report will be presented by Downtown Economics, LLC, the consulting firm engaged by the City of Roanoke, on Tuesday, April 25th at 6 p.m., at the Gainsboro Library, 15 Patton Avenue NW, in Roanoke. 

This report represents nearly a year of community engagement and input. According to Chuck D’Aprix, Principal of Downtown Economics, the central theme of the report is to craft a plan that is highly practical. “There have been too many unrealistic plans. We need to start with the basics from the ground up – that is where true economic growth starts.” 

For more information, please contact: Chuck D’Aprix, Downtown Economics, LLC,

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Part of Appalachian Trail in Craig County will be closed on Tuesday

For public and hiker safety, sections of the Appalachian Trail within 150 feet of the current Craig Creek bridge location will be closed on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, from 7 am to 5 pm. This trail closure will occur for the safety of hikers while Forest Service staff work with large equipment to dismantle and remove the bridge. The footbridge, which crosses Craig Creek into the Brush Mountain Wilderness in Craig County, was closed on March 29, 2023 for structural integrity concerns.

Hikers will not be able to pass through the work area during the time of deconstruction and should utilize the following reroutes:

For hikers heading northbound on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.): At the Craig Creek Rd/VA 621 road crossing, take a left and follow Craig Creek Rd for approximately 3.3. miles to the intersection with Miller Cove Rd/VA 620. Turn right and follow Miller Cove Rd for approximately 1.2 miles to the A.T. crossing. Turn left off the road and follow the A.T., where it continues north across Trout Creek via a footbridge.

For hikers heading southbound on the A.T.: At the Miller Cove/VA 620 road crossing, take a right and follow Miller Cove Rd for approximately 1.2 miles to the intersection with Craig Creek Rd/VA 621. Turn left and follow Craig Creek Rd for approximately 3.3 miles to the A.T. crossing (look for a small dirt lot on the right side of the road). Turn right off the road and follow the A.T. south toward Niday Shelter.

For more information about the Appalachian Trail and hiking, visit

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