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Partnership gives Valley cosmetology students advantage

Dysart Unified, West-MEC team up

Posted 4/22/22

The art of hairstyling takes talent and students taking advantage of the partnership between the Dysart Unified School District and West-MEC have an undeniable passion.

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SUBSCRIBER EXCLISIVE

Partnership gives Valley cosmetology students advantage

Dysart Unified, West-MEC team up

Posted

The art of hairstyling takes talent and students taking advantage of the partnership between the Dysart Unified School District and West-MEC have an undeniable passion.

Krista Block, West-MEC cosmetology instructor, said she sees the drive and passion. Whether is spent learning theory and the foundation of hair services in the classroom or on the floor in the salon on the West-MEC Northwest Campus in Surprise, these students want to be there and are excited to learn and be challenged.

Students complete regular classes at the enrolled high school and then spend 2.5 hours at West-MEC as first year students and 3.5 hours as second year. Second-year students are in the classroom one day a week and on the salon floor four days a week.

“They run the salon just as a typical salon with students taking clients that come in for services,” Block said.

This two-year program is run through the Career & Technical Education program at DUSD, with students eligible to become licensed hairstylists through a state exam. There are 40 first-year and 40 second-year students enrolled.

Block said the majority of students finish the program and are prepared to take the test for licensing. She said the exam is paid for by West-MEC if the student passes, which means this is an opportunity to obtain a license at a younger age and at almost no cost to the students. Leaving kits for the class and books all that is left to cover.

Students are always looking for people to come in for services and students are required to generate clients and create a network, which will help in the journey to building a business.

“Between 80%-90% of students pursue a career in the industry, while others use it as a supplemental income career,” Block said.

Through Gateway Community College, Block said this program is a pathway to get an associates degree in beauty and wellness. Nineteen credits can be applied towards the 60 total credits to obtain the degree.

Shadow Ridge High School junior Heidi Young said if not for this program, higher education may not have been something feasible due to the high cost to attend. She said this program allows her not worry about funding and can still get the license for hairstyling.

Darla Ribas is also a junior at Shadow Ridge High School and hair is what she knew she always wanted to do. Both her parents pursued careers in this same field.

“This doesn’t even feel like I am going to school. We have a lot of fun and learn new things all the time. Some of them are challenging and some come easy,” she said.

More than learning about hair services, these students are learning valuable interpersonal communication skills, in preparation for working in the near future.

Reach the reporter Jennifer Jimenez at jjimenez@iniusa.org.

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