Career Services partnering with ClipDart to offer minority students free haircuts

Building confidence, career-readiness part of project goals
November 15, 2021

A haircut can help create confidence in a job interview and can be a therapeutic experience.

University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Career Services is sponsoring free haircuts centering on minority students who may have difficulty finding a barber familiar with culturally diverse hair textures.

Gilbert “Gil” Jordan IV of Rochester, Minn., who owns Uncle Gil’s Barbershop in Winona, Minn., will have eight appointments open from 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, in the Memorial Student Center Birch Room. Appointments are being scheduled by Career Counselor Anthony Goettl.

Career Services is partnering with ClipDart to offer haircuts. The university is the first in the UW System to partner with ClipDart, Goettl said.

“When you look good, you feel good,” Goettl said, about helping students feel career-ready. “When you look at social or human capital, a lot of that is having the confidence to shake a hand and not have to worry about what you look like. It’s just another tool in their tool bag as they are interviewing.”

ClipDart logo
ClipDart logo / Photo courtesy ClipDart

Kyle “Paco” Parker is the founder and CEO of ClipDart, an on-demand barber service for Black and Brown customers.

Parker noted on the company’s website the concept came to him as he dealt with mental health struggles while attending Grinnell College in Iowa.

“Being an African-American from the south side of Chicago, I never had an issue finding a barber for the first 18 years of my life,” Parker noted. “If my barber was not available, I could easily locate another nearby barber without any drop-off in the cultural experience. Then, I moved to the middle of Iowa, and I was not able to find a barber within hours who was skilled at cutting minority hair texture. This is when I truly realized how essential hair practitioners are to one’s mental wellness.

“Within most minority communities, barbers are viewed as therapists, mentors and pillars of the community. The barbershop is a safe haven and cultural institution within Black and Brown communities where generations after generations share stories, unpack struggles and listen to life’s challenges. It is a safe space,” he said.

ClipDart’s mission is to make a powerful, positive impact on the mental wellness of communities around the world through hair practitioners while, concurrently, revolutionizing the hair industry and common view of hair practitioners' essentialness, Parker said.

Goettl said snacks and drinks will be served to students while they are getting haircuts.

“The goal is to create that barbershop vibe where people go to talk,” Goettl said, noting it also improves equity, diversity and inclusion in a primarily white community.

Career Services’ plan is to offer hair-cutting services three or four times a year, particularly preparation weeks before the two Career Conferences in spring and fall. The Spring Career Conference is planned Monday, Feb. 28, to Thursday, March 3.

Part of UW-Stout’s FOCUS2030 strategic plan is inclusive excellence through equity, diversity and inclusion.

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