Some college leaders are thinking outside the box. Or in this case, outside the classroom.
Capital Community College in Hartford is creating a partnership with barbers, positioning hair stylists as ambassadors of the school so they can provide information on classes and programs to clients.
"As we look at leaders in our communities, people who have long standing trust with individuals, barbers were one of the individuals that came to mind,” said CEO of Captial Community College Dr. G. Duncan Harris.
Lester Fitzgerald, owner of "It's a Gee Thang" Barber Salon and Spa, quickly agreed to being part of this new pipeline. With nearly 40 years of experience behind the chair, creating strong bonds is his life’s work.
"So what this relationship is going to do is bridge that gap. That information gap that's lacking in the community by allowing us to have information that we can constantly convey that information who may be in need of an opportunity,” said Fitzgerald.
The college is also calling on faith communities to spread word on classes and programs. Hartford's Faith Congregational Church is one of them.
“I had one person who had to drop out of nursing school because she could no longer afford it. When I told her about Capital Community College, she said that's going to be a viable option,” said Reverend Cleo Graham.
This partnership is designed to help people of all ages, including those looking to go back to school or change careers. It's also a way to meet people's personal and professional needs.
"There's a lot going on right now. Some of that is tied to the impact of poverty and some of them not having careers that don't allow them to have the safety and security for themselves and their families. And I think this initiative is in that spirit and it's ultimately good for our city,” said Dr. Harris.
On Monday, July 11, barbers will take a tour and hear about the school's training programs. Dr. Harris says tuition may be free for those who graduated from a Connecticut high school or completed their GED.
"It's about uplifting our community. So, this is kind of a way to lock arms and help the individuals that we care about,” said Dr. Harris.