A recent government study recommended that Title IV funding be cut for cosmetology and other proprietary schools because there was a “surprise of trained workers” in those fields.
A recent government study recommended that Title IV funding be cut for cosmetology and other proprietary schools because there was a “surprise of trained workers” in those fields. The report, entitled “Proprietary Schools: Millions Spent to Train Students for Oversupplied Occupations” (GAO/HEHS-97-104) found that for every job opening in the industry there were almost five cosmetology professionals. But according to a argument put forth by members of the International Chain Salon Association (ICSA), the report did not take into account many important factors, such as women leaving the profession to marry or have children. More important, says Malcolm Bonawits, cohead of the ICSA government relations committee, it did not contain information from the private sector. “I looked at that report and just about died,” he says. “I couldn’t believe the government could issue a report like this without talking to a single salon owner.” Much of the information was derived from state job/unemployment centers. But Bonawits points out that very few cosmetologists look for work at these centers, and few salon owners contact them for licensed professionals; as a result, there is no paper trail to indicate an oversupply (or undersupply).
The ICSA is pushing for a new report, based on findings from surveys and reports commissioned by the Advisory Committee for Cosmetology Relations in Education (ACCRED) and ICSA that point to a need for qualified cosmetologists. “If funding dries up, it will affect 80% of our students—that would be disastrous for everyone in the industry,” says Bonawits, who encourages everyone to write their congressional representative at the House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.