I had a few really good mentors when I was growing up that supported me a great deal. So getting the chance the pay it forward is a big thing for me.
Skot Cranmore is the Business Manager at New Avenues INK – our screen-printing social purpose enterprise. Skot, a 25- year veteran in the screen printing business, has been at INK for three years and talks about his experience there…
How have you seen New Avenue’s INK impact the lives of the youth who work here?
Here at INK, we don’t just teach youth aspects of screen-printing production, but also the sales and marketing side of this business as well. The youth leave us well-rounded and prepared for the next step. A lot of our youth have gone to work for other screen printers. Others have had their designs bought by different companies and have pursued careers in graphic design. One youth that came through the program moved on to work for one the largest screen printers in Oregon.
What we’re focusing on is thecraft of the industry instead of the mass production. We’re actually a hands on printer, so youth learn the art of production. Not only do we offer youth the opportunity to learn a new skill, but a lot of the soft skills they’re learning are transferable to whatever it is they have an interest in. They learn things like customer service, sales and marketing, branding, and working with programs like Adobe Photoshop. They learn about starting and maintaining an apparel line.
The most rewarding part of the whole process is seeing them come in not knowing much about the industry at all, and then leave with skills and knowledge that have prepared them for bigger and better things.
How is INK continuing to make an impact on the community?
People may think that because these are young people that don’t know that much about screen-printing or the industry that they quality of the product we put out is going to be subpar – which is not the case. The majority of our clients are repeat customers. Consistency and quality have been first and foremost and because of that we’ve gotten good reviews. We are already developing a huge clientele list, and we’ve had to bring in another press to help us handle the work load. Now were discussing how we might expand into a bigger facility with better equipment so more youth will have the opportunity to come and learn more skills and more about management and leadership.
Because of INK I get to do a job that I love doing. It encompasses two things – I love screen printing, but when you add the social mission to what we do just makes it even better. The fact that I get to work with youth and teach them the soft skills, the industry, and watch them grow and excel is just icing on the cake.
New Avenues INK is owned and operated by New Avenues for Youth to provide paid job training and real-world work experiences for foster, at-risk, and homeless youth. Each and every time you select the professional services of New Avenues INK, you get the top quality apparel and promotional items you need while also investing in the future of our city’s youth. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org