From cutting hair to changing lives: Barber Tech Academy

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Leonard Pelzer has been chopping hair at any time due to the fact he was a history main at South Carolina Condition College.

“I commenced chopping hair for a passion and observed out that I could made a good living off of it, so I continued to slash hair,” Pelzer claimed.

The 22-yr outdated Pelzer finished up partnering with his young brother, Dashaun West, in opening a community barber shop named Fading Photographs on June 21, 1996, on Bass Travel in Santee

The guys were being joined with their other brother, Johnny West, in the endeavor.

Though working a neighborhood barber shop was satisfying, the gentlemen desired to do a lot more.

Underneath condition regulation, they could only prepare two people today in a barber store, but by turning out to be a college, they could teach a whole lot much more folks at a single time.

The males attained out to the South Carolina Division of Employment and Workforce by way of the Workforce Investment Act.

The WIA helped pay out for the training of barbers and so was born Barber Tech Academy, which positioned in the previous U.S. Military recruitment building on Russell Street.

The publish-secondary grasp barber university was found at the 1521 Russell St. locale through 2010, but outgrew the facility. 

Barber Tech announced in July 2019 that it was growing its companies into a 4,200-square-foot setting up in an effort to educate extra college students with a bigger selection of facilities.

The college opened at the new site at 1650 Russell St. in September 2019. The making was the place of the former Rhoad’s Cleaners, across the road from the previous Piggly Wiggly.

The new house was a lot more than twice the measurement of the former site.

Now, Pelzer, Dashaun and Johnny have celebrated, alongside with their staff members and neighborhood, the 26th anniversary of getting into the barber organization. 

The anniversary was celebrated with foodstuff and cake as properly as award recognitions for learners and workers.

A 25th calendar year anniversary was prepared but experienced to be lower because of to the COVID pandemic.

Pelzer explained the anniversary is a time for celebration and thankfulness.

“I am grateful to the local community and to my team and to the people that occur and patronize the enterprise,” he claimed. “It is a major emotion of appreciation. Those people are the folks we serve and is the purpose why we are here.”

In excess of the past dozen years, the academy has graduated virtually 100.

Pelzer stated the major transform in the company above the earlier quarter of a century has been the better role his business has performed in life.

“When we started out, it was about reducing hair and now it is about transforming lives,” Pelzer claimed. “When we very first commenced reducing it was about a great fade and now it is about being a platform that other youthful adult males and gals can arrive and get the required abilities essential to get to the following degree in life.”

Barber Tech Academy consists of a main foyer place, 24 do the job stations, shampoo bowls, driers, offices, a crack place and two multipurpose school rooms with a ability of 20 people today for every class.

The academy has graduated people today from as younger as 18 to as old as the 50s. Large faculty graduates, higher education graduates, dislocated personnel, veterans and the disabled have all effectively concluded the schooling and acquired their license.

The 1,500-credit history-class-hour plan involves the two classroom and palms-on chances in which pupils obtain information on the hair business to consist of an infection control, bacteriology, shaving, hair chopping, hair textures, coloring, hair substances and natural styles.

The academy has partnered with Work Corps.

Barber Tech is about extra than cutting hair.

The business thinks in local community outreach by furnishing haircuts for small children in the community, doing work with nearby schools, vocational rehab, nearby churches and CASA Family Products and services.

Barber Tech also companions with South Carolina State University’s Small Small business Improvement Center. The SBDC aids teach the students about compact organization and how to place together a little small business approach.

Pelzer reported there is a lot more news the college is ready to rejoice.

There are plans to franchise the small business and to sell the Santee barber store to their brother Johnny.

“He would be the to start with man or woman to acquire into our franchise,” Pelzer claimed. “We are receiving the papers legalized now.”

Barber Tech is also growing to the Columbia location with strategies to open a 2nd school on Aug, 5 at 421 Bush River Road near the Dutch Square Mall.

Pelzer stated the opening of a 2nd locale is deemed vital in order to be close to a variety of businesses that have worked carefully with its learners and helped in retention, accomplishment and re-entry.

Some of the businesses are: South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Social Expert services. Pelzer also pointed out a variety of students occur from the Columbia and Sumter regions.

Pelzer claimed as to the long run of Barber Tech in Orangeburg, it will continue to do what it has been undertaking more than the decades.

“We are extremely grateful to the Orangeburg community getting downtown and currently being a portion of the educational district with SC State, Clalfin and the library,” Pelzer explained. “It is remaining a portion of where it all will come collectively.”

“As we educate these younger adult males and gals, we want to operate tricky in assisting shape the business in phrases of functioning with them in getting gainful work, producing educational prospects and creating employment below in the Orangeburg neighborhood” Pelzer reported.

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