Anthony Thomas makes connections

Anthony Thomas with UpStaff Personnel
MOVING ON UPSTAFF: Anthony Thomas says his company provides employees with the support they need to succeed in their job placements. Photo courtesy of Thomas

“Everybody knows in Asheville that you get a job around here through somebody you know,” says Anthony Thomas.

That’s why Thomas created UpStaff Personnel, an offshoot of the nonprofit Green Opportunities that connects unemployed and underresourced community members with employers.

“These populations that we work with don’t have access to those networks. We really want to be a door opener for folks,” he explains.

Temporary work helps build relationships with employers that can turn into career paths for UpStaff’s clients, Thomas says. But unlike other staffing agencies, he explains, the company also provides employees with a network of support, including transportation, child care and counseling.

“Whether it’s a domestic violence situation or something that came up with the criminal justice system, we serve as that middle person to have that conversation about what’s going on,” Thomas says. “I don’t think that you’ll find a temporary agency here that does that.”

Thomas hopes that what UpStaff starts as a foot in the door for employees leads them to a solid foundation for the future. “Getting a shot at those jobs cascades into people being able to buy a home or being able to move out of the environments that are probably not the best for them,” he says. “It’s just the bigger picture. Employment is just a piece of that — but if you don’t have employment, it’s a huge piece.”

Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.