Washington Academy founded to teach barbering to ex-offenders

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Anyone who’s looking for a job after prison faces a frustrating and difficult search, but a local woman opened a school to help others faced with this challenge.

Rebecca Washington, founder of the Washington Academy of Barbering and Arts said, “It’s designed for pretty much all walks of life. However I’m catering to those who were once incarcerated because I was before, and I know the challenges that we face in trying to seek a job.”

Washington Academy opened a few months ago and Leo Martinez is in the first class and he’s already inspired him to follow his dreams.

According to Martinez, “My goal is to one day own my own school and barber shop.”

The program is a total of 1500 hours or approximately 10 months and it’s a combination of time in the classroom and time with customers in the chair.

“We learn about anatomy and physiology, we learn about electricity. We’re like nurses and doctors. We learn about the skin and scalp,” said Washington.

What the students at Washington are receiving are skills that enable them to give to their future customers.

Student India Chaney remarked, “I love cutting hair. I find enjoyment transforming a person and giving them confidence.”

Washington stated that she was once incarcerated, but she also got help from her father getting through those years. Founding the academy has helped her give back to others that don’t have that kind of support.

“I do know that a lot of families don’t have a father and we have broken homes, and those are things I felt like kind of keeps people from pursuing their goals,” said Washington.

Click here for more information on the Washington Academy of Barbering and Arts

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