Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. cut the ribbon at the newly-opened Beyond Beauty & Barber Academy (BBBA) in Westchester Square. BBBA will enhance opportunities for growth in both the workforce for the borough and the entrepreneurship community by providing training, career services and other assistance needed to prepare students for a successful path as a licensed barber.

BBBA education programs are designed for students to obtain the knowledge and skills to enhance their opportunity to work in the professional male grooming industry. The program will also prepare students for job interviews as well as the “State Board Practical Exam” required to obtain a Master Barber license, and will assist them in finding employment with affiliated barbershops looking for licensed employees.

“We are building a diverse economy in The Bronx, and we are creating new jobs in a variety of fields. From our nascent tech sector, to our new retail hubs, to our burgeoning industrial and manufacturing, we are creating jobs for all Bronxites,” said Borough President Diaz. “Today’s announcement creates a new opportunity where Bronxites can train for employment in an industry that has proven to be resistant to economic fluctuations.”

“Beyond Beauty & Barber Academy was made with the purpose to help our community with those less fortunate to afford a long-career studies. We will provide the best opportunities in career, personal development and resources for youth, single parents and disadvantage individuals seeking a short career opportunity,” said Javiel Rodriguez, owner of the Beyond Beauty & Barber Academy.

“This is another shining example of how we are helping small businesses in The Bronx continue to grow as we become stronger as a borough,” said Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation President Marlene Cintron. “Javiel Rodriguez is a role model for the community, helping those around him, mentoring barber apprentices by giving them not just the tools to excel in the male grooming industry but to excel in life.”

“The Westchester Square Business Improvement District (BID) proudly welcomes Beyond Beauty & Barber Academy.  We consider our district very lucky to host the academy which will offer more opportunities for personal growth to the residents of our great borough. We look forward to working closely with Mr. Rodriguez in support of his marketing and outreach efforts,” Lisa Sorin, Executive Director Westchester Square Business Improvement District

Since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009, The Bronx has seen more than $7 billion in total development, which has led to the creation of over 15,000 new jobs. In addition, the unemployment rate in The Bronx fell to 6.6 percent in September 2015, down from 7.3 percent in August 2015 and 8.7 percent in September 2014, according to statistics from the New York State Department of Labor.

Those same statistics show that the total number of Bronxites who are employed is 565.7 thousand, up from 468.8 thousand in May 2009 when Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. first took office, meaning that nearly 100,000 more borough residents have jobs today than did roughly six years ago.