BANGOR, Maine — Katherine Beers, 21, of Bangor and a senior studying communication at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., played a part recently in helping to create a new Irish job initiative called Hireland while studying abroad during the Spring 2011 semester at the college’s Dublin campus.
Beers, the daughter of Dana and Lisa Beers of Bangor, was a part of Hireland co-founder Lucy Masterson’s social and nonprofit marketing class at Champlain College Dublin and worked with Masterson and fellow classmates to brainstorm ideas for Hireland’s launch in January.
“Our teacher, Lucy Masterson, came to class one morning and told us about the idea. She and some of her friends came up with the idea as they sat around the kitchen table the night before,” Beers said. “They had been talking about how many friends they were losing to immigration because there is so much unemployment in Ireland and they wanted to do something. We were immediately on board.”
Beers, a 2008 graduate of Bangor High School, said she and her fellow students did what amounted to research and development for the project. She interviewed Irish business people, which she said was difficult because the topic of lack of jobs in Ireland is not one anyone cared to discuss. She also was involved in establishing social media sites for Hireland, such as Facebook and a blog, coming up with marketing ideas and working with students at Irish universities to make a YouTube video about the project.
“It was overwhelming and amazing that a small group of dedicated people could create this whole big thing,” Beers said. “It has got me interested in working in either nonprofit communications or marketing, or with a business focused on social or environmental concerns. It was my first experience with a nonprofit and I was impressed. I would like to work in an international arena. I’d love to go back to Ireland or to England.” Beers will graduate in May.
Hireland’s goal is to convince small and large businesses in Ireland to pledge to hire at least one unemployed person this year. Eventually Hireland hopes to create 5,000 new jobs for Ireland’s skilled, unemployed work force in the first half of the year. In the first month of the effort, Hireland had more than 2,500 pledges and 150 jobs created through the program, according to hireland.ie.
When word of Hireland reached the United States, a sister initiative, UHireUS, was started, according to a press release. The U.S. group launched its website uhireus.org in December and hopes to create one million jobs in the United States this year. The plan also was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September 2011.
Beers said she has not been involved with UHireUS, but other Champlain College students have.