*Content pulled from proposal materials
Legacy Barber College was founded by Juan Rivera, a Lake County, IL exoneree who spent 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for a crime he did not commit. After his release, and inspired by the work he did in IDOC to earn his barber license, Juan opened Legacy Barber College in Rogers Park, IL. Legacy serves as a community barber college for Rogers Park, and provides instruction, training, and test preparation for licensure for students from all walks of life, including especially the formerly incarcerated and the high-risk student population from surrounding high schools.
Through this program, the Legal Studies Program and the Departments of History and Education at Lake Forest College will partner with Legacy to supplement Legacy’s job training program with the College’s career advancement opportunities (resume writing, interview skills, etc.); enhance Legacy’s community based programming in Rogers Park; explore a pathway to Lake Forest College for Legacy students seeking to continue their education; contribute to a deepening of Lake Forest College students’ understanding of the link between race, poverty, and incarceration; and support Legacy students through professional internships, experiential learning, and speaking engagements.
Working collaboratively, faculty members in History, Legal Studies, and Education will provide necessary disciplinary expertise and department- and course-level programming to direct project activities. Key areas of faculty expertise include (a) articulating the historical link between race, poverty, and incarceration, (b) examining the legal framework for that link, and (c) developing pedagogical structures for future institutionalization of project outcomes at Lake Forest College.
The project goals include career advancement for Legacy students, enhancing Legacy’s community-based programming in Rogers Park, creating a pathway to Lake Forest College, and Lake Forest College and Legacy student support.
All partnering departments and faculty members will work collaboratively with Legacy staff to develop and implement project activities, with each faculty member leading aspects of the project that are most relevant to their field of expertise while minimizing workload for Legacy staff.
The project team will work with Lake Forest College students to adapt career advancement service workshops/documents to fit Legacy student’s needs – including resume workshops, and mock interviews. They will also work with Lake Forest College students and Legacy students to staff and assist community events (i.e., job fairs, back to school programming, etc.). The team will explore options for a streamlined admission process to Lake Forest College on a course-by-course basis, or more formally for students completing their associate’s degrees at Oakton Community College who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Finally, the project team will provide professional speaking opportunities for Legacy students at Lake Forest College to: hone relevant skills and deepen Lake Forest College students’ learning outcomes on the link between racism, incarceration, and community-based social action; explore connecting Legacy students with professional internship programs or other experiential learning opportunities (especially those related to business management); and provide support to connect and foster student relationships at both campuses.
Lake Forest College is eager to bring this project and its outcomes to future ACM faculty development or institutional partnership opportunities to share with ACM institutions that are interested in exploring similar ideas. Additionally, a participating student will document partnership events/workshops and create a portfolio for publication to participating ACM schools. Considering the considerable faculty interests at Lake Forest College, we expect that individual faculty will foster collaborative endeavors with other faculty members at other ACM institutions, and Lake Forest College will support such collaborations in the interest of common good.
Outcomes and Significance
Lake Forest College is in its last year of a 5-year $1.1 million institutional partnership grant that enabled the College to advance humanities education by working collaboratively with various Chicago-area organizations, including Legacy Barber College, to engage with issues of racism in the Chicagoland area. One stream of this grant initiative has been exploring Racism, Incarceration, and Displacement, and the complex link between race and the experiences of racially marginalized communities in the U.S. justice system. As that grant initiative comes to an end, and armed with the lessons learned so far, Lake Forest College is now exploring the prospects of harnessing community interest to develop and institutionalize community-based collaborative endeavors that address the complex challenges of racism, incarceration, and displacement in our society. This grant initiative will support the initial exploratory phase of that commitment that is targeted at institutionalizing specific initiatives and activities that are identified as viable and productive for the various stakeholders.
Furthermore, Lake Forest College is committed to exposing its students to the benefits of community-based learning. Working with Legacy students in preparation for job interviews (by working on interviewing skills and resume- writing), community events, continuing education, and experiential/vocational-professional skill training will help both Lake Forest College and Legacy students build skills helpful in professional career preparation.