HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — The barbershop has always been an integral part of the Black community, and now, it’s also becoming a place to find a job — all thanks to one beloved Harlem business.

Big Russ Barbershop has been on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard for 29 years. Now, along with getting a haircut, it’s become a place for two dozen men and women to train and start new careers.

Russ said he’s been cutting three generations of Harlem families’ hair for three decades. By this point, he said he practically knows everybody in his neighborhood.

He decided to use that connection with customers to make a difference. Russ started the barber training program during the pandemic, and his first class graduated this week.

After their eight weeks of training, 24 young men and women are now groomed to be barbers and master barbers.

The next training session starts in August. Big Russ Barbershop is located at 2470 Fredrick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem.