Roosevelt High School Launches Barber Shop Vocational Program

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Des Moines high school is looking for creative ways to get students thinking ahead to possible career choices. It's latest idea is a cut above the rest.

Last week, Roosevelt High School launched the "Barber Shop" program according to school principal, Kevin Biggs. He says the program is designed to support and engage young men of color to pursue post graduate career options. The program will be lead by local barbers.

Tony Mac is the owner of Clippernomics, a barbershop on the Des Moines' southside. He says the opportunity to teach in the classroom is a dream come true."If they're willing to listen, I'll teach," he smiles. Mac has cut hair for more than 20 years. During that time, he says he's had the chance to mentor young men about their professional and personal aspirations. He envisions his classroom environment to be similar.

"We're not going be just teaching about hair," he says. "We're going to be working with the kids, teaching them about business and  how to run a business." Mac hopes the school's new concept encourages students to finish school and pursue opportunities they would have never thought possible.

"A lot of young black youth nowadays lack knowing an adult business man, a black business owner."

Program organizers are working to convert a classroom into a barber shop setting. It's scheduled to be ready by the start of the second semester. Organizers say they are in the process of fundraising $25,000 to complete the project. Eventually, Mac hopes to offer scholarship opportunities to barber school for those who complete the program.