Until recently, Brandon Meyer was a young man without a compass. A young man without direction. All that changed when a trio of organizations entered Brandon’s life: Mountain Housing Opportunities, Asheville Green Opportunities (Asheville GO), and Cox-Schepp Construction, Inc.
The connection between all of these organizations began with Cindy Weeks, Manager of Community Investments with Mountain Housing Opportunities.
“Because of MHO’s interest in helping young people gain living wage employment, I have always encouraged training in the construction trades, which offers some of the highest paying jobs in our region,” said Weeks. “When GO started, I was immediately interested in involving them and their trainees in the Glen Rock Depot, since it is a community development project with affordable housing. It very quickly became a reality. But without Cox-Shepp’s willingness to take this on, in addition to their many pressing duties, it would not have been possible.”
Brandon is part of the Asheville Green Opportunities Training Team, a paid job training and placement program designed to give disconnected youth in the Asheville community a living wage job in the fast growing green economy.
“ We work with high school dropouts, underprivileged teens, kids with little or no work experience,” said GO co-founder Dan Leroy. “Brandon is part of the apprenticeship program that is hosted by local businesses that provide on-the-job experience for 20 weeks.”
Russ Henningsen is Superintendent of Cox-Schepp Construction, Inc. He’s also Brandon’s supervisor.
“We made sure that Brandon understood that he was part of a team here,” said Henningsen. “People counted on him to not let them down. In reality,” continued Henningsen, “he’s learned how to not let himself down.”
Brandon has learned a variety of job responsibilities during his apprenticeship – from installing solar panels to assisting carpenters. “We’re trying to get him prepared for the rest of his life,” said Henningsen.
“The experience has been awesome,” said twenty-one year old Brandon. “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve been given opportunities that I never would have had. I’m so grateful to MHO and GO and the Cox-Schepp team.”
Brandon’s apprenticeship with the construction company is nearly finished. But Brandon won’t be leaving. Cox-Schepp will be hiring Brandon after the program ends – a new man, with a new direction.
Article by Lisa Keeter, Mountain Housing Opportunities