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INDIANAPOLIS — It is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., even though it’s been around for decades. After a number of barbershops closed in the 1990s and early 2000s, the industry is now seeing a resurgence and it’s in desperate need of workers.
An Indianapolis man is working to teach people the trade and how to be a cut above other barbers.
Kenny’s Academy of Barbering came as a result of a need for barbers at Kenny’s Barber Shops. That was more than 25 years ago, and the school is still abuzz as the demand for barbers has remained a constant.
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“It’s large, growing and it’s not just in Indiana, but it’s all across the country and internationally,” Gregory Kenny Sr., CEO of Kenny's Academy of Barbering, said.
That’s why dozens of students cut, shave, and braid their way through each day.
“We are a full-scale barber college," Kenny said. "We are unapologetically barbering. So we teach the traditional techniques of barbering, fingering shear, shear over comb, clipper over comb, razor shaving and shaping, and sanitation.”
After a year, students are ready to be hired as professional barbers.
“We can guarantee when you come out there are barber shops that are chomping at the bit for you to come and work for them," he said.
Kenny said many of his graduates are making $50,000 a year and higher.
“Some are even making as much as $100,000 a year just cutting hair,” Kenny said.
Students pay less than $20,000 in tuition, and the academy offers financial aid and night classes to accommodate students like James Evans to the best of their ability.
“I have a lot of kids,” Evans said, “so they like that I do hair, and I do their hair, and it’s something I felt like I could advance in and bring enough sufficient money home to take care of the house. The next step is basically building clientele, and then from there I want to own my own shop.”
The chairs at Kenny’s are always full, proving the demand for professional barbering services isn’t going away anytime soon.
“We get many, many students who have never touched a pair of clippers that come to Kenny’s and we teach them how to cut hair from scratch," Kenny said. "Our profession was God given, and it’s here to stay. I don’t think we’ll see any robots cutting hair anytime soon.”
Kenny’s Academy of Barbering has trained more than 850 barbers, many of them now shop owners.
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