MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis-Shelby County Schools have several industry certification programs for your child to enroll in this school year.
Cosmetology, barbering, STEM, culinary arts, veterinary, and health sciences are just some of the dual credit options available for students.
At Whitehaven High School, a group of boys is on the path to getting certified in barbering. And this school year, those students are offering free haircuts Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-5:30 p.m. so they can practice their skills.
The free haircuts are done on the WHS campus.
For about six years now, Eric Massey has been Whitehaven's barber instructor, though that wasn't always his plan.
"I said, 'No! I don't teach kids,'" he said.
Massey was already an instructor to adults and runs his own barber shop called E. Massey's Barber Shop in Whitehaven. However, he said he changed his mind once he realized he had the opportunity to change kids' lives.
"This is such a blessing to the kids, it's frightening," He said. "It's just such a blessing because they come in here, they handle their business, they learn a trade, and they are not out in the streets being silly because you know how that goes."
On top of being mentored, these students can start their careers immediately after graduating high school. The program has been available for students for years during school hours but now it's also an after-school program.
When students start the program as a sophomore and stay until they graduate high school, they will have all the hours and knowledge needed to pass a test and get their license.
"You can't beat it," Massey said. "It cost up to $10,000 to $20,000 just to obtain your barber license, but these kids are getting it now for free. You can't beat that."
Massey's students also have an opportunity to land a job at his shop after graduation. He said he has already hired six former Whitehaven High School students who completed his program.