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The brush-off by high school guidance counselors when it comes to helping groom students for hair styling careers continues to amaze Leonard Rosenberg of the Toledo Academy of Beauty Culture.
Hair stylists can make $15 to $20 an hour and, more important, have job security, said Mr. Rosenberg, the business president and a graduate. More than 90 percent of students have a job within a year after finishing the typically 14-month program and securing a state license, he added.
“Hardly ever is there unemployment,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “In tough economic times or bad economic times, people still get their hair done.”
He added: “More than ever, people are looking for [job] security.”
The perception of the profession slowly has improved over the 28 years Mr. Rosenberg has owned the academy, which has two schools in Toledo and one in Northwood. Founded in 1953, the company said it expects to have $1 million in revenue this year, including fees collected from clients who allow students under the supervision of instructors to perform hair cutting and other services.
Such services generally cost a third of what salons charge and give students who have gone through class work and practice on mannequins with human hair a chance to have hands-on experience, Mr. Rosenberg said.
Jeannie Smith of East Toledo said that experience was a major benefit of the academy, from which she graduated 61/2 years ago. Mrs. Smith decided she wanted to pursue hair styling her senior year in high school but not through classes that had been offered there.
“I knew I wanted it to be a career,” said the colorist at Salon Hazelton in Perrysburg. “I didn t want to just squeeze it into high school.”
The academy is a certified Paul Mitchell Signature School, Mr. Rosenberg said, and officials from the hair-care firm visit a couple of times a year to provide advanced instruction.
Nationwide, the salon industry grosses $56 billion as Americans spend an average of $200 a year on hair and on nail care, according to the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences.
Nail and skin care are other programs the Toledo academy offers. It takes about 10 weeks to become a nail technician and seven months to become an esthetician, a program added three years ago that includes working with both skin care and makeup.
About 300 students enroll in the academy annually, and 800 to 1,000 clients are served a week, Mr. Rosenberg said. About 60 percent of students are enrolled in hair styling, which includes some instruction in nail and skin care, he said.
Students typically commute from within 40 miles of the schools, and the academy works to find them jobs in their communities, Mr. Rosenberg said. Though guidance counselors often frown on beauty careers, hair stylists are in high demand, he said,
Georgia Bouldes, a 27-year veteran of the academy and its vice president, said the overall quality of students has improved over the years. Plus, she said, they have good job prospects.
“Literally every week we have salons calling us, looking for our graduates,” Mr. Rosenberg said.
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