Class offered as a partnership between Loy Norrix and local businesses


Credit: Kaleb Madrigal

Junior Kaleb Madrigal poses for a photo with his mentor Paul Frazier in front of International Profyle Barbershop.

Nate Goodwin-Kelly, Opinion Editor/Knights Speak Team

As education has progressed over the years, schools have worked to offer more options for students beyond the traditional core four classes and some electives. Many students desire an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the work-force. 

The Community Based Vocational Education or the CBVE program in Kalamazoo is a course offered at Loy Norrix to help find opportunities for students. The program is a partnership between KPS and local businesses. 

The students in the program get job experience, opportunities for community interactions, a potential business mentor and a resume builder for the future. Businesses receive free labor from the students, (approximately 9 hours a week), free marketing and a potential employee pipeline into KPS. 

Some of the local businesses include Henderson Castle, West Michigan Muscle, and a variety of local barber shops. The CBVE program describes the five main components of the course as: career, community, financial, physical, and social.  The students are graded on daily course work, job site performance, and attendance. For a final exam, students must have community service and build/update their resume throughout the semester. 

Due to the hours put in while at work, students receive no homework. Program leader Mackenzie Hill describes the mentorships at the program as one of the most gratifying parts.

“In many instances, the business leaders take the students under their wing and mentor them in aspects beyond simply teaching them how to work,” said Hill. 

Junior Kaleb Madrigal is one of the students involved in the program. Madrigal spent the first trimester of the 2019-2020 school year working at International Profyle Barbershop. 

“Working at the barbershop gave me more motivation to work and stay working. The freedom, responsibility and ability to earn outings has been my favorite part of the program,” said Madrigal. 

Every other Friday students have the opportunity to go out and visit local restaurants and businesses as a ‘payment’ for their work. 

“Last week we visited 600 Kitchen and Bar. It was great and we got a free meal after we visited,” said Madrigal.  

International Profyle Barbershop owner Paul Frazier enjoys the mentoring aspect of the program. “These children are a gift,” said Frazier.

Interested students should talk to their guidance counselors.