Taking Up A Trade Helps Some Ex-Cons Go Straight

Nov 26, 2013

Making the move from incarceration into a productive life can be helped with career training.  During a visit today to the Lexington Academy of Barbering,  Mayor Jim Gray met with ex-cons who are trying to learn a trade.  The academy is directed by Anthony Hayden.

Anthony Hayden, owner of the Lexington Academy of Barbering.
Credit Tessa Lighty / Lexington Herald Leader

“So we kind of bring them into our school and retrain them to get back into society to get a job that can actually support them, like the re-entry of newly released felons and others that are low income,” said Hayden.

Hayden says nearly 100 former felons and unemployed individuals have undergone training at the Lexington Academy of Barbering.  Among them is Gordon Carsby, who finishes next month.  After five years in prison, Carsby says he’s now set on a career in barbering.

“Trying to find myself really, got back into society and trying to find something I was good at doing,  Kind of came to realization that this is where I was at.  I just kind of came forward and went for it.  Still here, trying to finish it up and make a career out of it and make some changes with myself and life period,” said Carsby.

The Lexington Academy of Barbering is in the business for more than offering lessons in hair care.  Lexington Pastor Everett Hopson believes the academy is a ministry that successfully changes the lives of its students..

“It’s a heart issue.  If an individual’s heart is not right, then it doesn’t make any difference what you do to him, to try and help him.  You can put him in all kinds of programs and if it doesn’t change the heart, then the success level is gonna be extreme low,” added Hopson.

Owner Anthony Hayden says recently released inmates come from all over the Commonwealth to attend classes at the non-profit academy.  They were visited Tuesday afternoon by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.