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Career Advancement Program to Help Build Pathways to Economic Mobility with Trusit

L&J Empowerment Awarded Grant for Career Advancement Program

$50,000 Grant Aims

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., July XX, 2023 – Today, nonprofit L&J Empowerment was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Truist Foundation for their latest initiative, the UpLift Barber and Beauty Academy Cares, a new technical school in Asheville, N.C. that will serve the region.

L&J Empowerment partnered with Crown Cutz Academy founder Craig Charles to create the new Academy, which also owns schools in the Johnson City, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia areas.

Inspired by The Confess Project (TCP), a barbershop mental health movement founded by L&J Empowerment, UpLift Barber and Beauty Academy Cares will upskill low-income community members, BIPOC individuals, and other marginalized groups. The social arm of the school provides a community and learning center for students offering childcare, healthy meals, and training in a range of skills, including social entrepreneurship and financial literacy, as well as mental health advocacy, and suicide and interpersonal violence prevention.

In North Carolina, where Black community members’ median income is approximately 72% of the state’s median income, and Black families are nearly twice as likely to be in poverty than average, new ways of creating family-supporting jobs are needed.

“We are so honored and appreciative of the grant the Truist Foundation has awarded the UpLift Barber and Beauty Academy Cares,” said Lorenzo Lewis, Co-Founder of L&J Empowerment. We’re so proud of what the Academy stands for, and excited to see the lasting impact it will have on the community. The funds will help the Academy empower and expose individuals to the abundance of opportunities within the barber and beauty industry for well-paying jobs and entrepreneurship and more,” he added.

Certification requires a high school diploma or equivalent and accreditation, and in North Carolina, can result in jobs paying more than $50,000 a year, plus tips, and the opportunity for participants to launch small businesses.

“We’re delighted to support the UpLift Barber and Beauty Academy Cares program in their important mission to not only offer pathways to skilled and well-paying work as a barber or beautician but to address the whole person and uplift communities,” said Trusit. This couldn’t be more aligned with Truist’s core values of inspiring and building better lives and communities for all.”

Harvard research carried out in partnership with L&J Empowerment in 2020 confirmed the role of barbers in Black neighborhoods as community leaders and change agents. However, currently, there are not enough barber and beauty schools to meet the demand for training. In fact, local training programs can have wait lists of up to two years for admission.

“Our hope is that the Academy will help generate not only talent, but strong leaders and advocates within the community to help promote economic prosperity and overall health and wellness among the underserved for many years to come,” said Lewis.

To learn more and enroll into UpLift Barber and Beauty Academy Cares, please visit:

About L&J Empowerment

Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, L&J Empowerment was founded by Lorenzo and Jordon Lewis – serial entrepreneurs and nationally-recognized, social-impact solutionists. The organization’s focus is criminal justice, mental health innovation, and economic opportunity. L&J Empowerment’s programs include The Confess Project, Prison to Purpose, Uplift Barber and Beauty, and the Arkansas Barbershop Network for Youth Criminal Justice Prevention.

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