Chris finds a Fresh Start to His Career
After incarceration, Chris was determined to get back to the work he loved–being a barber. “Just seeing people’s faces after you give them a cut, you know how happy they are, like it makes you feel good. That’s what I love,” Chris said.
“You have a lot of plans when you’re in jail and when you get out, stuff starts not working out and you’re going to go back to your old ways,” Chris explained, “I wasn’t working and my [barber’s] license was expired. If you get caught cutting without a license it’s a big penalty for the barber and the shop. I didn’t want that kind of trouble for anybody that I was working with or helping me out.”
Chris needed help reinstating his barber’s license to avoid going back to school and taking the barber’s exam again. “I didn’t have money for school. It was expensive,” Chris noted.
Chris found the Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) ReEntry program online and called Jake, a GESMN ReEntry Supervisor. “When I called Jake, he met with me right away and I told him about my situation. He told me about the ReEntry program.”
GESMN’s ReEntry program offers free services including career navigation, financial literacy and computer skills, mentoring and more through 1-1 case management and ongoing support. Jake helped Chris:
- Reinstate his barber’s license
- Secure employment
- Connect with mentorship
“Chris is a very humble and modest person. He shows up and that’s what matters most. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and the number of guys who tell me they’re going to do something is a lot higher than those who actually show up. Chris has the right attitude, right personality and he’s a good person. Chris has done a lot of work and has a big future,” said Jake, GESMN’s ReEntry Supervisor.
“[The ReEntry program] has impacted my life by keeping me focused. Just being able to talk with other guys, vent and having somewhere open to speak, knowing that you won’t be judged and get real help. They’re going to help you. It’s almost like going to therapy, so it’s something that makes you feel good,” Chris said.
“[People] should try it [ReEntry program] out. When you first get there, you’re not going to talk that much because it’s about the trust factor but if you keep coming, you’re going to find out that it’s all brothers, it’s all love,” Chris continued.
Now Chris has the confidence to reach even more career goals.
“I never wanted to own a shop before. I just wanted to be a worker because I didn’t want that responsibility, but now sitting here and being focused, I want to do more. I want my own shop. Once I sit here for a little bit, there will be a shop opening up real soon,” Chris added.