Monroe’s screen printing business to help young adults with autism learn skills
A local school and a long-standing business are teaming up to run a workforce program to help these developmental disabilities.
QuesTECH Learning, a Monroe private school for children with special learning needs in grades 2-12, has partnered with DayStar Creative Group for a screen printing business to employ students and autistic young adults.
Leisa and Ray Geoghegan, owners of DayStar Creative Group, transition from their established graphic design business to create QuesTECH/DayStar Spectrum. Nearing retirement, the Geoghegans, who have always had a heart for autism since their daughter was a former QTL student, wanted their community legacy to be a business where young adults could learn the craft of screen printing in a workplace that understands autism. .
“QuesTECH has transformed our daughter from grades 1 to 8 and a haven for us,” said Leisa Geoghegan. “We are pleased that DayStar Creative Group is becoming QuesTECH/DayStar Spectrum to produce t-shirts, signs and banners. As Ray and I move towards retirement, we will take on the role of mentors and advisors. of QTL, we are confident that the business will become a great service to the community.
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QuesTECH/DayStar Spectrum will provide a safe workplace for people with autism and help them learn essential job skills in the showcase located at 2123 Justice St. in Monroe.
Store manager Crystal Rhymes said it was difficult for people with autism to find work in the real world.
“People don’t want to deal with them,” Rhymes said. “My goal is to bring them here and work on some of their weaknesses and prepare them for another job. Most of them are students, but we also have a few adults on the spectrum. We just help them fit in. Some of them have never had a job before.
Rhymes is no stranger to dealing with those on the spectrum. The mother of a son who has been diagnosed with autism, Branson said Rhymes will prove invaluable to the company.
The store currently employs six young adults. There, Rhymes said, they learn essential workforce skills, such as meeting deadlines, relating to customers and preparing for deliveries.
There were other options the school could have taken to provide a workplace for people with autism, QuesTECH director Kevin Branson said, but none are as transparent as this opportunity.
“It’s something that we thought would be easier for us to get into,” Branson said. “You can get into this business very cheaply because of some benefactors, we were able to buy the best equipment. I don’t think anyone in northeast Louisiana has the press like us. Maybe a Larger capacity press but not automated like Not one that is electronic and again the reason for this is so kids don’t have to struggle too much.
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QuesTECH Learning is a private, nonprofit school in Monroe with certified special education teachers and administrators. The school offers tailored study programs and in-depth educational therapy for students facing educational challenges.
Branson said the store is also a nonprofit, with every dollar generated used to run the business and pay employees.
“The mission of this is to get these kids where they can enjoy their lives and be as productive and self-sufficient as possible,” Branson said. “Coming back to another job opportunity next time much better prepared for what they’re going to face as employers. That’s the goal.”
The school is holding a grand opening and inauguration ceremony on June 2.
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