RAVENNA, Ohio — It's a full-service T-shirt printing business at Education Alternatives.
- The students print about 20 shirts per class
- They use thermal patches and a thermal press to create the final product
- Each item costs anywhere from $3 to $65 and can be ordered through the school's website
16 students work every week at PawPrints, creating and selling clothing with original designs.
"I gave him muscular arms, gave him an eye patch, made him with the skinniest chin, made him look cool," said Steven Nelson, student.
Steven Nelson is the creator of the "Hardcore" T-shirt design.
He gets a dollar profit for every shirt sold.
"People around this school are wearing my shirt and they're treating me like a celebrity, like good design,” said Nelson.
The students at Education Alternatives are part of Vision Quest— a transitional and vocational program for students with moderate disabilities between the ages of 15 and 22.
The T-shirt printing business, launched this year, is providing real-life job skills outside the classroom.
From start to finish, students balance the budget, order materials, print shirts, and send them out to customers.
"These are skills that transition to everywhere, so you know when it comes to filling an order, whether that's at the local fast food or, you know, working in a factory, they're learning those skills here," said Michael Horning, building director, Education Alternatives.
The original goal was to sell 50 shirts and they've already sold more than 500 pieces of clothing,
The business, which was supposed to be temporary, will now be permanent and run entirely by the students.
"I have a lot of shirts, I'm not gonna lie, it's hard not to," said Horning.
The students print about 20 shirts per class.
They use thermal patches and a thermal press to create the final product.
Each item costs anywhere from $3 to $65 dollars and can be ordered through the school's website.
"It's not easy, I think that's the one thing when we got into it, we're like, how hard could this be, but they've had to learn a lot from what makes a shirt cost more money, how to design a shirt that's cost-effective,” said Horning.
For Nelson, this class is more than just running a business.
It's a creative outlet for his art.
"I like to draw cool pictures, especially characters like robots and logos," said Nelson.
And for other students, it's a sense of accomplishment.
"Just the shirts, I love making the shirts, it feels really good to know that I've accomplished that," said Hope McMullen, student.