• Amber Ash to head Wyoming Excels as executive director

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    November 29, 2017
    CHEYENNE, WYO - The Wyoming Heritage Foundation has hired Amber Ash as the first executive director of Wyoming Excels, a coalition of business leaders who have joined forces to advance educational outcomes for children and youth in the state.

    Wyoming Excels is a program of the Wyoming Heritage Foundation, working to improve our education-to-workforce pipeline by ensuring all students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to succeed in a competitive global economy. To that end, Wyoming Excels unifies the collective voice and power of the business community to secure the resources, apply the strategy, and eradicate the barriers that hinder great teaching, learning, and achievement.

    "Amber's background working in education and after-school programs and her visionary thinking makes her the right person to lead the program," said Cindy DeLancey, the president of the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation.

    Fred von Ahrens, chairman of the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation, believes businesses need to have a seat at the table when discussing education. He is also vice president of manufacturing for Genesis Alkali, a company in Green River that mines trona and makes soda ash. 

    "We all benefit when the business community and the education community work together to ensure a prepared and ready workforce," he said.

    Construction and industrial companies need additional skilled workers in the trades, said Katie Legerski, executive director for the Wyoming Contractors Association and a WBA Steering Committee member. "We should be preparing and encouraging K-12 students towards all career paths, not just in the direction of a college degree."

    As executive director, Ash will be responsible for leading the organization. She starts Dec. 1.

    "I am honored to be selected as executive director of Wyoming Excels," Ash said. "I am committed to improving our education to workforce pipeline by fostering a symbiotic relationship between the education and business community, being a proactive voice of business, and promoting dynamic education policy. I look forward to working with the business community, educational leaders, elected officials, and local stakeholders to create a robust educational system that prepares Wyoming's students for success."

    Ash has served as a Laramie County Commissioner since January 2013. Prior to that, she completed a four-year term as City Councilor for Ward I in Cheyenne. In addition, Amber is the former program manager for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21 CCLC) Program at the Wyoming Department of Education. She was responsible for directing, managing, and evaluating the 21 CCLC federal grant program which provides services to approximately 10,000 students each year at 112 centers throughout Wyoming. She served on the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Board and the Wyoming Children's Trust Fund Board. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming.

    Wyoming Excels is a program of the Wyoming Heritage Foundation. The Wyoming Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan coalition of business leaders who have joined forces to advance educational outcomes for all children and youth in Wyoming.  Business leaders have the opportunity and capacity to work toward efforts to transform the education system with the current education professionals as partners. Because today's students are tomorrow's workforce, the business community represents an influential constituency whose interest in better educational outcomes is entirely aligned with the best interests and needs of Wyoming's students, families and communities. It is imperative for business leaders to engage with education if they hope to improve their workforce pipeline and our state's competitive advantage. The Daniels Fund donated money for a three-year grant totaling $300,000 to support Wyoming Excels.

    The Wyoming Business Alliance / Wyoming Heritage Foundation serves as Wyoming's premier business advocate and proponent. It ensures a unified, lasting voice for business, and it facilitates a growing, proactive, and inclusive business environment and climate by promoting effective leadership development; thoughtful public discussion; stewardship of our vital natural resources; sound investment; facilitation of public forums and input; establishment of an unparalleled statewide network; and an issue advocacy arm. Visit www.wyomingbusinessalliance.com.