Manufacturing Story:

Starbucks’ Indivisible Bracelets

Thanks to a partnership between Starbucks, BDA and Next Step of West Michigan, things are looking up for a small group of people in Grand Rapids.

During a Bible study at Next Step, an opportunity came about for Next Step to get involved in Starbucks’ Create Jobs for USA initiative. One of the people attending asked Scott Jonkhoff, Next Step’s Executive Director, about his ability to adapt the workspace and hire people to assemble Indivisible bracelets.

Over the next month there was a flurry of conference calls with BDA, a supply vendor for Starbucks, and a site visit at Next Step. With a grant from a local foundation, Next Step’s construction team transformed its dark warehouse into a well-lit and clean assembly and production space. Work stations were setup and construction equipment installed in accordance with BDA’s strict quality control standards.

Next Step became a certified supplier for Starbucks and they hired 28 men and women to assemble over 1.6 million ‘Indivisible’ bracelets to sell at 7,000 Starbucks locations. Next Step’s assembly team put together as many as 25,000 bracelets a day.

This was a great opportunity for men and women struggling to find work after coming out of jail or rehab. Jonkhoff said, “In addition to providing 28 jobs for men and women who were without work six weeks ago, it’s given Next Step a platform to share our story in our community and across the country.” He added, “We’ve got a great team and a positive work environment where people are given the chance to succeed. They have the opportunity to create a reference so if they do move on from here, they’ve got someone they can call who will attest to their work ethic and their attitude and their abilities. That’s something that’s missing for a lot of the population that we serve.”

When asked about what it meant to be working on this Starbucks project, a Next Step employee said, “It means stability, independence and hope. My self-esteem is out of the roof getting the chance to do something.”

Thank you Starbucks and BDA for making this job opportunity possible.

Read an interview with our contact at Starbucks

Copyright 2013. Next Step West Michigan.