Job Creation Story 2 – Gretchen McLaren and The Hope Project India

Note:  This is Story 2 of a two-part series on the topic of job creation.  Story 1 focused on a new organization called Jobs4America that is focused on creating 100,000 customer service jobs in the United States by 2013.  Story 2 involves a single individual who, as you read this, is following through on a commitment to help complete strangers in a country thousands of miles from her home.

Story 2 – The Hope Project India

The Hope Project India is an international story of job/skill creation.  Gretchen McLaren is a jeweler from North Carolina.  She has traveled to India with the goal of setting up a jewelry making studio at an orphanage for girls.  While there she will teach the girls of the orphanage as well as some of the village women the marketable skill of jewelry making.  Gretchen will spend six months in India with the ultimate goal of her Hope Project India being that the girls and women that she teaches will then have a sustainable and green jewelry business that will give them a means to provide for themselves going forward.  Gretchen will bring the jewelry back to the United States and will market and sell the jewelry for the women.  All proceeds will go directly back to the women in India.  If all goes well, she hopes to eventually replicate this business model with a total of 16 orphanages.

Wow!  This is an incredible story.  I am inspired by Gretchen’s determination and desire to help!  I really like this because it is an international story.  It reminds me that there are people all over the world that need help in so many different ways and it is so great to see that Gretchen is reaching out in a very personal way to help this group of girls and women in India.  On her website Gretchen states that it satisfies her soul to be a maker of things.  Well now Gretchen is not only making beautiful jewelry she is also making jobs!  All I can say is “Awesome!”.  Gretchen’s story has already begun.  She recently arrived in India and has started to visit some of the orphanages and is in the initial phase of setting up the first studio!

To follow Gretchen’s Hope Project Story as it unfolds:

Main Website: The Hope Project India

or on Facebook:  The Hope Project India

Jobs4America and The Hope Project India are two great examples of people coming up with innovative ways to create jobs.  Do you know of other examples?  If so, I would love to hear about them!  Is there anything that you can do to help create jobs?  Is there something you are already doing?  If so, I would love to hear about that too!

With Aloha,

Steve Strother

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About Steve Strother

I am a husband/father/human being looking for ways to move past the status quo. I strive to find solutions; to find the positive; to celebrate the joyous, the just, and the inspirational. Living peacefully and compassionately in the present is my ultimate goal. I love to write! To learn more about me please visit my blog at stevesthinkingspace.wordpress.com.
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6 Responses to Job Creation Story 2 – Gretchen McLaren and The Hope Project India

  1. Hope Project India sounds like an international version of the Easter Weaving Room in Baguio, Philippines. When Jon and I were there in January, we visited the weaving room, which is run by an Episcopal church to teach local women how to weave. Their wares are sold onsite to locals and tourists. (Baguio is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, both for Filipinos and Westerners.) The women can go on to start their own businesses or market their skills to potential employers.

    Easter Weaving Room website: http://www.easterweaving.com/
    My blog post about our visit to Baguio (which includes some pictures from the weaving room): http://gracestrother.com/blog/january-21-baguio.html

    • How cool Grace! Easter Weaving Room in Baguio, Philippines does seem very similar and is another great example of an organization or individual (in this case the Episcopal Church) making an effort to help others devleop a marketable skill. It sounds like you and Jon had a great time there. Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Thanks! I also just saw a video of an interview with the CEO of my company, Blackbaud: http://youtu.be/GCnlqu2QddQ. It’s a pretty long interview, but he explains in different parts how he got us through the recession without having to lay anyone off. That’s not job creation exactly, but it’s certainly keeping job-seekers from entering the market unnecessarily. 🙂 Basically he:

        1. Told all of us at a company meeting that in order to get through tough times he’d focus 100% on employment security if we gave the same focus to keeping our customers happy and helping Blackbaud save money. (We submitted ideas for cost-savings and saved $1 or $2 million because of those suggestions.)

        2. As mentioned above, he said our main focus as a company was to keep our customers happy. To do that, we had to know more about them than anyone else in our sector.

        3. He didn’t mention this in the video, but I thought it was important that all senior members of management didn’t get raises for as long as the employees as a whole couldn’t get raises due to our cost-saving efforts.

        If more companies adopted similar strategies, I bet we’d have a lot fewer unemployed people!

  2. This is another great story Grace! Your CEO as well as all the employees at Blackbaud used innovative thinking to get through tough times. You all worked together toward a common goal and in the end everyone was able to keep their jobs, and as you said that meant that many fewer people out there that needed to look for jobs. One very important step in job creation is coming up with ways to protect the jobs that already exist and it sounds as if Blackbaud has done a great job with this!

  3. diggingher says:

    Steve,
    These stories are thought provoking and inspiring. I agree with your thought process that even one job created is a step in the right direction. I intend to look at the links you posted more closey. The story of the Hope project touches my heart. I have been involved in some international work but not at the level I think makes a significant difference, such as giving new skills to help gain independence. She is a brave woman. The Indian culture is quite different than our own, culture shock can be overwhelming. Thank you for sharing these great stories.
    Paige

    • Paige,
      Thank you for your kind words! I am glad that these stories are meaningful for you. I agree that Gretchen McLaren is brave. What she is doing is not easy and that makes it that much more inspiring! I hope eventually to write about more stories of job creation as well as other stories of inspiration, compassion, graciousness, authenticity, etc. Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope to hear from you again!

      Steve

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