As people try to restart their lives after incarceration or addiction, many struggle to find work that will help
build their new lives in positive ways. Paul Monteith and Anthoney Rasdal are trying to change this with their Tayas Yawks Fab Shop, a community-based non-profit program and fabrication shop dedicated to assisting people develop skills as fabricators and welders.
They are creating a place for some of the most vulnerable people in their community to find support and understanding. They are providing more than just job training, they are building a movement that could impact communities across the country.
“One thing I noticed was that the treatment centers didn’t offer onsite job training, which was a big barrier for myself to stay clean,” explained Rasdal. “It was easy to get clean, but hard to stay clean because I had no skills for the job fairs. Our program gives addicts a chance to gain job skills and make themselves more marketable.”
Monteith adds that job skills are also a problem for those who have been incarcerated. “There are many barriers for someone coming out of prison or an addiction center including large gaps in unemployment,” said Monteith. “Many also don’t have good job skills and a criminal background so it’s hard for them to get good fulfilling jobs with fair wages. So that’s what we want to give, especially in the Columbus, Oregon community.”
One of the major goals of InventOR is to have a positive, social impact on local Oregon communities and the team believes their program does just this.
“The program will better the lives of people, and help people provide value to the community and themselves,” said Monteith. “It will reverse criminality; it will reverse addiction and it will slow down recidivism and bring together families.”
Both Rasdal and Monteith explained that while their journeys to the creation of Tayas Yawks Fab Shop were different, they have been rewarding.
“This was all a new game to me. This has helped me step completely out of my comfort zone,” shared Rasdal, “in terms of speaking in front of many people I’ve never met before and pitching the program in the competition. I’ve discovered through this process that I can be a voice for people who have been in my position, or who are in my position, who don’t know how to say how or what they need to succeed.”
Monteith shared that the professional and student contacts he’s made have been instrumental in building their program. He is a graduate of KCC and later became a welding instructor. He noted that Matt Walters was instrumental in helping them succeed in the InventOR competition, as well as Stan Pierce along with many other advisors.
“All the advisors have really stepped up and allowed for us to do well in this competition. It’s been nice,” Monteith added.
To help the program grow, Tayas Yawks Fab Shop has received Measure 110 funding from a peer mentor organization. They are in discussions for additional funds. They are also looking for additional funding for their fab shop.
Today, there are five employees with plans to add two more. Once the fab shop is officially up and running, Monteith estimates they’ll have six clients for the employees to work with to gain welding and fabrication skills. The goal is for Rasdal to run the day-to-day of the shop, while Monteith focuses on the nonprofit program.
While the team is currently focused on serving their local area, they have been approached by several clinical psychologists from Northern California enquiring about expanding the program to the Pit River Tribe, an American Indian tribe comprised of 11 autonomous bands. Others in the Northwest region have also expressed interest in their program.
The team received $2,500 for competing in the finals, and it went well. Monteith and Rasdal said they felt they were successful in sharing their passion, making even more connections. But, maybe most importantly, they received confirmation that they are inspiring other communities to create similar skill-building programs.