LA Barber College's future in jeopardy due to COVID-19 pandemic

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, L.A. Barber College was putting students on the career path to become barbers.
DOWNTOWN LA (KABC) -- So many small businesses are struggling to stay alive, including one trade school in Los Angeles. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was putting students on the career path to become barbers. Now it could be on the verge of closing.

The difference between what it looks like inside L.A. Barber College now, to how it looked prior to COVID-19, is striking.

"We don't anticipate that we are going to survive, we probably have a month or two at the most," said Michelle Matthews, L.A. Barber College administrator.

The trade school on Broadway in Downtown L.A. has provided a career path to barbers for more than 15 years.

"Most of the students when they come out from the school, they are ready to start working," said Blanca Polanco, owner of L.A. Barber College.

Owners Blanca and Jose Polanco describe it as a death sentence, not only for them, but for their students if the school cannot re-open. In this virtual world, a barber's license is something you cannot obtain online.

"It's definitely frustrating because, like, the main portion of the job is the actual barbering," said Vincent Wade, a student at L.A. Barber College.

"We have a 70% barbershop ownership, they're not just barbers, they are barbershop owners," said Matthews.

This uncertain future also puts their community work in jeopardy - donating thousands of free haircuts every year. They've applied for various loans and assistance programs. So far, it hasn't worked.

"We are doing it, we are doing it all because we love our school, we want to save our school," said Matthews. "We deserve to be saved."

They feel all they can do now is ask for help, with a GoFundMe campaign, to keep their dream and business alive.

"A school like this is needed for all the right reasons, and these people deserve it, they deserve it," said Matthews.
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