The following is from Andrew Larkin, OED Business and Employment Specialist:

Isac became a WorkSource customer in September of 2022 as part of the Re-entry Program at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution as he would be releasing back into the community the following month. Besides having a record of arrest, Isac’s other barriers to employment were short term jobs or having gaps in employment. Isac was determined to make a living for himself while being a contributing member to society and setting a better example for his children.

While incarcerated at DRCI, Isac obtained his flagging certification and thought that would be his short-term employment goal in the interim, but his long-term career goal was to become a Barber. Isac stated that over the years he had cut family and friend’s hair as a hobby but did not have the financial resources to attend training to become licensed. WIOA services and funding was introduced to Isac and upon release from DRCI, Isac continued to work with WorkSource/COIC staff and got a survival job immediately as a Lube Technician. Months later, Isac worked with Jenny and completed the WIOA scholarship for funding to attend Phagan’s Beauty College in Bend.

Isac’s scholarship was approved, and he was enrolled into the Prosperity 10,000 (P10) funding, part of the Future Ready Grant, and started the Barber training at Phagan’s in May of 2023. The P10 funding was able to pay $5000 towards tuition. Isac also received support service for Barber tools and supplies from the STEP program.

Isac graduated from Phagan’s on 10/23/2023 and passed his state exam through the Oregon Health Authority on 12/22/2023 obtaining his Oregon Barber License.

Isac states that the training provided him with the proper techniques and knowledge of barber tools to further his skills for a long-term career.

These days you can find Isac working at a new local barber shop with 3 other barbers, renting his space and providing several services such as standard haircuts, women’s haircuts, gentleman’s special, beard & mustache grooming, fades, and buzz cuts. Isac states that he has been provided with the most supportive help along his journey between COIC and WorkSource staff including Re-entry, WIOA and STEP programs. Isac also states that he felt motivated by staff and recommends the services to anyone who is needing assistance with finding employment or training. “You just really have to want it.”