Nelson named to valley-wide award
Moffat County resident Sasha Nelson received the honor of being the year’s Yampa Valley Connector recipient, as part of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s annual sustainability awards.
The YVSC, a nonprofit organization based in Steamboat Springs, aims to foster and maintain sustainable practices in the Yampa Valley region through local partnerships and education. Nelson, who works as the executive director of workforce education and economic development at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus, works closely with grant funding for the region — specifically as it relates to economic development and workforce programs.
“Sasha is an inspirational influencer, change maker and community builder,” a news release from the YVSC reads. “She is extremely knowledgeable about economic activities and is an amazing connector for those essential one-on-one relationships that make our region so wonderful.”
Nelson is also a partner in the ongoing U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant-funded Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Rural Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps Northwest Colorado Regional Team. She also serves on the board of the Yampa Valley Electric Association.
Nelson said that receiving the award gave her the opportunity to reflect on the work she has been able to accomplish while serving as executive director. She added that the award was a complete surprise.
“I’m humbled,” Nelson told the Craig Press Wednesday. “There are a lot of people across the valley doing a lot of great work right now. To be honored among them is a humbling moment.”
Nelson wears a lot of hats at the college — from advancing new academic programs and teaching public speaking to managing apprenticeship programs and partnering with local leaders. Above all, Nelson said she wants to benefit the community and support her neighbors wherever they need it.
“When I think about our community, it’s a role that I’ve taken pride in doing,” she said. “I love connecting the dots between people and organizations. The (Yampa) river connects us all in a tangible way. I’ve taken that to heart and I try to emulate that.”
Nelson couldn’t point to one single inspiration that keeps her in her role at the college, but added that the giving spirit of the Yampa Valley community is what she loves to experience when she goes to work.
“Our community inspires me — our students in my night class, the faculty and staff, (and) my neighbors,” she said. “All of the hardworking folks that really are just trying to make ends meet and survive day to day and enjoy the place we find ourselves in.”
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