Back to work

Prospects: Nonprofits like Goodwill turn your donations into job training and opportunities. photo courtesy of Goodwill

Jobs remain in short supply in Western North Carolina, as the brunt of the economic downturn continues to be felt throughout the Asheville area. Whether it’s through training, job placement or financial assistance, the following agencies help folks in need get back on their feet — and back to work.

Asheville FRESH

"Most hydroponics programs, such as the one at the EPCOT Center in Orlando, are highly automated and involve few people. Asheville FRESH is low-tech and employs many people. We also engaged the folk whom we serve in constructing most of our equipment." — Hydroponics Manager Robert Sweeney
What they do: Employ people with disabilities to help grow, harvest and deliver organic, hydroponic culinary herbs to individuals, restaurants and natural grocery stores. Asheville FRESH is a project of Liberty Corner Enterprises, a nonprofit providing job placements and other services to help people with disabilities live a normal life with minimal assistance.
What they need: Financial support; bring cash or check to Liberty Corner Enterprises, 147 Coxe Ave. in Asheville. Website ( is under development and will support online donations early next year.
Wanna help? Now accepting applications for various volunteer and paid positions. To buy fresh, organic herbs, call 254-9917, ext. 311. Delivery within downtown Asheville (will go farther for large orders).
Need help? Call Liberty Corner Enterprises at 254-9917.
Partners: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Ingles, Home Depot.

Goodwill Industries

"Many people recognize Goodwill from our donation centers and our stores, but far fewer understand what the impact is on the community when they give to Goodwill or shop at our stores. The revenue from our stores underwrites training programs targeting unemployed or underemployed individuals who are looking for work." — Jaymie Eichorn, vice president, marketing and communications
What they do: Operate retail stores, provide job training and collaborate with other community organizations, helping thousands of North Carolinians each year.
What they need:
Clothing, shoes, small furniture, jewelry, books and electrical items (radios, clocks, computers/printers, etc.).  Wanna help? Multiple locations throughout Western North Carolina. For information, call 828-252-7680 or go to
Need help?
Visit Goodwill's Asheville Career Connections Center (1616 Patton Ave., open Mon. through Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). No appointment needed. For more information, go to or call 828-298-9023.  Partners: JobLink, Buncombe County government, MANNA FoodBank, Least of These Ministries. Special Recognition: Business Advisory Council Chair Scott McLean.

Asheville Green Opportunities

What they do: Empower low-income Asheville neighborhoods by training residents for jobs in the environmental sector.
What they need: Grants, partnerships, donations. Donations can be made online ( or by mail (Green Opportunities, 133 Livingston St., Asheville, NC 28801).
Wanna help? Host an Asheville GO apprentice (full or part time) for 20 weeks and provide on-the-job training; become a GO business sponsor with financial or in-kind contributions; become a project partner by designing and implementing project-based training experiences for Asheville GO members. Partners and sponsors get various benefits.
Need help? Applications accepted from low-income, unemployed young adults ages 16-24. For more information and an application, go to
Partners: ABCCM (Pathways to Green Jobs program); Asheville Housing Authority (recruits, trains and places 18 public-housing residents in jobs weatherizing public-housing units).

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