By Eric In General GO News
Green Opportunities (GO) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Interim Executive Director, Ben Williamson. Ben transitions to this role from the education sector, where he has served multiple schools over a 20-year career as a teacher and administrator. Ben holds a Master’s in School Administration from Western Carolina University (WCU) and is currently partnering with Buncombe County Schools and Asheville-Buncombe United Way on his doctorate research project, also through WCU, which is focused on reducing dropout rates.
Recently, the GO Board and Staff have successfully completed a 3-year federal YouthBuild Grant as well as multiple years of the Kitchen Ready culinary training program, now being run independently by program creators and GO graduates. Building on lessons learned from these and other programs, GO is excited to begin a strategic planning process that will allow them to reimagine what educational-vocational training looks like in a post-pandemic world. GO Board and Staff will continue to work toward making diverse and relevant education-based vocational programs and experiences available to this community. We are proud of our achievements under challenging circumstances and are pleased to continue to be a transformative force in people’s lives.
Sherman Williams, GO Board Chair, said, “we have the greatest respect and high aspirations of what Ben will do for GO. We believe he will assist us to become a stronger source of viability in this community. He is a skilled educator with enthusiasm and dedication in taking on this position. Ben shows himself to be impressive, reliable, consistent, and creative. We expect Ben to put our mission into a long-term view with clear, achievable milestones, and a framework to meet our vision.”
Selecting Ben is the right move for GO as we pivot to focus on our future. Mr. Williamson has been a small business owner, an active community volunteer for years, and began work on January 19. Williamson said, “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve GO and the community at this important time. My first task will be to facilitate a planning process that incorporates our various stakeholders and members of the communities we serve. This is a chance for us to come together and reimagine the future of GO, to design a program that can help support so many facing challenges to sustainable employment. I can’t wait to begin this work.”
While helping to manage existing trainings, job placements, and partnerships with Mountain Bizworks, AB-Tech, and employers like Skyrunner, we are also adjusting to a changing world. GO will continue to support those in our community as we help train and employ members of our community who have been deeply affected by the pandemic recession.