June 25, 2018

For the second consecutive year, Alpha Institute welcomed barbering, styling and music professionals led by the Los Angeles-based Trade-Works Foundation ( In addition to student workshops and presentations with Alpha students and staff, the experience included the donation of the tools of the trade including Ipads for use in music class and professional kits for the barbering students. Trade-Works expanded the relationship this year to include music internships with the industry’s most active employers.

Trade-Works organizer and professional stylist Andrea Pezzillo said she started Trade-Works Foundation with skills development and at-risk youth in mind.

“Personal and community development is driven by the opportunity available in the community. Trade-Works vision is for everyone to have the resources to create a successful future and we encourage that through education and mentorship. We started with a focus on barbering and cosmetology.  As stylists we work in entertainment everyday so it was natural to expand to other creative trades such as music.”

In a barbering workshop with students, LA-based barbers James Gilbert and Vince Garcia introduced new barbering techniques and how to build in the business. Barbering students were awarded their own kits including shavers, shears, aprons, and more for their own income earning opportunities. A special thanks to Trade-Works kit sponsors Andis, Jatai, and Paul Mitchell for making these kits possible.  The barbers spoke about professional advice related to the people side of the business in order to develop and retain customers. “Don’t forget to talk to your clients. Ask them how they are doing. Talking to clients will make a better experience,” Gilbert told the students.

Over in the music department, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Gene Noble, led an impactful workshop for music performance and technology students with the crucial support of Jamaica’s own Shaun Darson (drummer) and Kevon Webster (keyboardist). As part of the learning and working sessions, Trade-Works generously donated iPads to the music department to facilitate technology training for all students.Thanks to the support of Moog Synthesizers and Music Theory Net, Alpha students will have access to use state of the art music technology on the iPads.

This year Trade-Works launched an internship program for 10 Alpha students. Music students will benefit from paid music internships at Headline Entertainment, Down Sound Records and Tuff Gong and barbering students will be participating in paid internships at Uppercuts and Adam & Eve Spa in Kingston.

Mrs Pryce, Assistant Director of Counseling and Assessment, supervises the students’ work experience. “Personal development requires a vision. Internships like these give students a special opportunity to see for themselves from a safe space the opportunities that are out there and it gives them a foot in the door.”

Stay tuned for updates about these exciting summer internships.

For more information about Trade Works please visit