A world without beauticians is a world with gray hair, broken nails and unibrows.
Thus, a line forms outside Room 178 in the Administration Building at the Salt Lake Community College Taylorsville-Redwood Campus as members from the community wait to be primped and pampered by the last graduating class of the Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics program.
Despite protest from faculty, students and the community, the program will come to a close May 2014, as was announced in May 2012 for three illusive reasons.
“There’s no reason to close [the program],” says Taylor Hill, a student and daughter of Paul Cook, who is an instructor in the program. “There are always clients, always.”
The three reasons reported last year by various local news reporters and broadcasters were (1) the program costs taxpayers an estimated $800,000 per year; (2) Salt Lake County cannot support the number of graduates being produced; and (3) due to the pending demolition of the program’s current housing, the college needed to find new housing, an estimated $1.2 million cost, for the current enrollment of students who have until May 2014 to complete the program.
According to the Economic Modeling Specialists Incorporation (EMSI), SLCC’s tuition and fees do not even cover half the costs of employee salaries, wages and benefits.
Although their report was completed in 2010, EMSI also reported this to be a continuing trend.
The program produces nearly $700,000 per year, but according to Joy Tlou, the Public Relations Director at SLCC, enrollment in the program was waning and graduates don’t make much once they enter the workforce.
Students spend their time and money on higher education. In return, they expect to get a high-paying job. According to the May 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online report, the median pay for cosmetologists in Utah is $10.81.
“We are producing way too many graduates — more than the region can absorb,” said SLCC Provost Chris Picard to Rosemary Winters of “The Salt Lake Tribune” on April 11, 2012.
But SLCC has offered their cosmetology students more than just a trade certificate.
Unlike other schools, SLCC’s cosmetology students graduate with an AAS degree as well, which could be transferred to a four-year institution.
At any rate, the decision is final; the building currently housing the program will soon be razed, and the students who remain to complete their 2,000 hours of required experience will be moving to the new location at Granite Technical Institute (GTI) annex for its final year, where students will continue to take classes, provide affordable services for the community and shave off required hours of experience.
GTI offers technical trade classes to high school students, grades 9 through 12, which transfer to SLCC. This includes barbering and cosmetology. Many of the cosmetology students at SLCC came from GTI, according to Rick Bouillon, Dean of Technical Specialties.
“They already have labs [at GTI] set up for barbering and cosmetology,” says Bouillon, “and we’ve integrated our schedules for our students with theirs, so that we don’t conflict.”
The cost will be nowhere near the estimated $1.2 million, according to Bouillon. Moving some desks and drawers will not cost the college much money, and the equipment will become surplus merchandise.
Located at 2589 South Main Street, the GTI annex will house SLCC’s Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics students as of Aug. 22.
Worried that the move to GTI will impact their clientele base, many students are eager to finish their hours as soon as possible. Students who don’t complete their required hours of experience by May 2014 will “just have to go to a different school,” says Hill.
This is exactly why students need more people willing to get haircuts, colors, perms, facials, manicures, pedicures and waxes, before and after the move. Students are also required to give a number of “old-school” shaves.
“We learn the actual technique of [shaving],” says Hill. “Other schools either do it with shears or they do the guards, and anyone can do the guards.”