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Cowley College receives grant to start barbering program at Winfield Correctional Facility

by Courtesy of Cowley College — last modified Feb 05, 2018 12:22 PM
Working closely with the Winfield Correctional Facility and the Kansas Department of Corrections, Cowley College recently received the funding needed to create a Barbering program for inmates through the Kansas Department of Commerce and Workforce Aligned with Industry Demand (AID) initiative.

Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle found it fitting that this partnership was finalized on Kansas Day and will serve as a benchmark for future growth across the state correctional facilities.

“This innovative three-member partnership between the Department of Commerce, Department of Corrections, and Cowley College is the type of collaborative efforts which will continue to make our economies stronger and develop our workforce in Kansas,” Dr. Rittle said.

Winfield Correctional Facility Deputy Warden Paul Snyder said the Winfield Correctional Facility has worked with Cowley College for many months to organize and execute the exciting new program to offer its offender population.

“Through the diligent work of Cowley College, we have successfully been awarded the grant to fund a Barbering School within the Winfield Correctional Facility,” Deputy Warden Snyder said. “Through this program, the offenders can obtain their barbering license and work to secure post-incarceration employment. As a facility, we are very excited in this partnership, and we are very eager to see the program thrive. We are here to oversee the operations and ensure security while the offenders are learning from licensed instructors and guest speakers. This is an exciting time for everyone involved and we are looking forward to the future.”

Deputy Warden Snyder said the Winfield Correctional Facility will offer resources, counselor support, training opportunities for instructors and facility space to help Cowley College reach its goals.

Research shows inmates who participate in correctional education programs are 43 percent less likely to return to prison and 13 percent more likely to be gainfully employed compared to those that do not.

“The Barbering program will further these efforts by meeting the need for a pipeline of skilled barbers in Kansas,” said Keith Bradshaw, executive director of Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) Contracts, Programs and Finance.

Stan Ahlerich, Executive Director for Workforce and Innovation, believes this type of innovation is a win-win for everyone involved.

“First off, this is the right thing to do for the individual,” Ahlerich said. “It is great that Cowley College has responded to the needs of their area and the Department of Corrections.”

Thomas Galindo, who was had been incarcerated for a little over seven years, received his barber license prior to going to prison and believes prison helped him improve his skills and speed by having the opportunity to cut the hair of other inmates and correctional staff.

“I set goals for myself, with the end goal of one day opening my own barbershop,” Galindo said. “Eventually I met my goal and was able to open my first barbershop in Hutchinson and am the co-owner of three barbershops in Wichita, and have won Best Barber five years in a row. I now have six chairs in my shop, three of them being ex-inmates. I will hire ex-inmates if I have chairs available. Cutting hair is my passion, and to see the opportunity being offered to other inmates in the state of Kansas is awesome.”

Galindo believes this program is an opportunity for inmates to have a chance at success.

“It adds structure, stability and hope for inmates who have a dream, such as mine that was once just a dream but now a reality,” Galindo said. “The overwhelming support I have from the community, inmates and prison staff is an abundance and I feel others should have the chance to feel that.”

Story provided by Cowley College

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