Screen Printing as Economic Development

Screen Printing as Economic Development
May 28, 2017 Evan Shaw
In Economic Development

We are excited about the new project we are starting to further economic development activities here on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Read more about our plans below.

Summary of Project

Basic job skills and financial literacy are limited with youth and young adults in the White Swan community. Many youth do not graduate from high school. Even if they do graduate, they are often not prepared for college. They have limited examples of working, career minded adults. Many lack the character skills to take advantage of employment opportunities. We seek to help build character skills in the youth of White Swan to make future employees.

We are starting a silk-screening business with the purpose of teaching youth and young adults vocational skills by running an actual small business. We will combine this small business training with WorkLife (learn more about this class here) and Financial Literacy curricula to provide additional job skill training in a classroom setting. Youth involved in the program can either stay in the program to work in the business or move on to other business opportunities.

Character Skills

There is economic research done by Nobel prize winning economist James Heckman, that shows character skills (emotional stability, agreeableness, extra-version, conscientiousness, and openness) predict a wide range of life outcomes, including educational achievement, labor market outcomes, health, and criminality. The predictive power of character skills rivals that of measures of cognitive ability (IQ). Sacred Road currently has limited ability to help with cognitive and education levels, however we can be involved in helping individuals learn character skills.

Programs intended to help young adults that are the most promising integrate aspects of work into traditional education. In years past, adolescents took apprenticeships where they were supervised and mentored by adults. This mentoring involved teaching valuable character skills—showing up for work, cooperating with others, and persevering on tasks. Many skills not fostered in today’s high schools. We hope to be able to have a program that recovers the combination of vocational and character skills. Learn more about character skills here.

Proposed Program

We seek to combine actual vocational training through the operation of a small business with job skill training of the WorkLife curriculum. This serves to replicate a more traditional apprenticeship program.

There are many different skills youth will have the opportunity to learn in the business operations portion of this program. The youth will be involved in the purchasing of materials and supplies; creating t-shirt designs; computer software skills; printing and developing film; creating silk screens; printing t-shirts and sweatshirts and even posters; taking pictures for website sales; listing products on the website, and packing and shipping sold t-shirts.

We also foresee the youth involved in the marketing and selling portion of the business, and learning communication and presentation skills. They will also have opportunities for janitorial and other more basic skills.

The WorkLife curriculum provides basic job skills information that is significantly needed. This curriculum is written from a Christian perspective and provides the following skills: the need to arrive at work on time and consistently, resume preparation, job interviewing skills, conflict management skills, and the need for adapting to a workplace environment, among others. We will also add a financial literacy component once the WorkLife class is completed.

Providing youth with character skill training while showing them they can learn new skills and succeed will help provide a foundation in which future employment opportunities can be built.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this program as we move forward. Let me know if you have any questions or might be interested in helping out in some way. Also, keep watch for t-shirts printed by Yakama youth for sale on the Sacred Road Store.

Comments (2)

  1. Melinda Barrack 3 years ago

    How small of an order can one place? I have always wanted to make t-shirts for myself and some of my teens who help clean the church. (Something like”CPC Janitorial Team on the front” and “Cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb” on the back with a picture of a lamb and the cross somewhere.) I would need to start with 2 for me, let the kids see them and then order a few more for the kids who want them.

    • Darren Maxfield 3 years ago

      Hey Melinda! I am seeing this post — don’t know if Darren already replied, but here is some info. We usually do a minimum of 10 shirts for an order. They’d probably be around $10 each. I love the front and back quote ideas! Let me know if you’d like to pursue this!


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