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Making the Cut: Barber Program Offers In-Demand Career Skills

CoreCivic | 3/7/24 10:29 AM

"It gave me a chance," Ricky D. says as he ponders the impact the barber program at CoreCivic's Lake City Correctional Facility in Lake City, Florida, has had on him. Ricky has been incarcerated for five years and is determined to live a life of honor and integrity when he's released. Much of this determination started when he enrolled in the barber program, and he's inspired daily by Chris Carodine, the Barber program's vocational instructor at Lake City.

"Our teacher, he's almost like a mentor to us," Ricky said. "He teaches us life lessons. He teaches us how to be better men, how to be grown, how to be mature."

The barber program is a 900-hour course that confers an industry-recognized certificate to those who complete it. Students are in class five days a week. A typical class day starts with book work before students discuss what they've learned and practice cutting hair. If students have a question, they're encouraged to ask each other first so they can learn together.

In fact, instructor Carodine owns and operates his own barbershop in the local community. This knowledge gives him the ability to not only teach students about cutting hair, but also how to open and run a business. He believes this information is vital, because Lake City cares for young, male residents who are between 18 and 25 years old.

"It's very critical working with this age group to perform at a top level," Carodine said. "They look at us for all types of reasons outside of what you're teaching. They want to know about life, how did you become who you are, what motivated you, how did you stay out of trouble."

When students successfully complete the barber program, they become eligible to register for the licensing exam with the Florida Board of Barbering.

A national survey conducted by job and career website Indeed found the average yearly income for a barber in the United States is just over $91,000. Income like this can help individuals find stable, safe housing and provide for their families after release.

WATCH the full story below.

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Topics: Reducing Recidivism, News