More than $2.3 million in federal economic stimulus grants have gone to eight Tampa Bay area cosmetology and massage schools to pay tuition for the hairdressers, masseuses and nail technicians of tomorrow.
That’s swell news for those who see the beauty trades as a way to gain a firmer footing in the job market. But is there truly demand for more beauty school graduates at bay area salons?
Not really, said Monica Ponce, owner of Muse The Salon in Tampa.
“Instead of encouraging more people to go to beauty schools,” Ponce said, “they should probably help the stylists who are unemployed.”
Some area salons are hiring in this economy, but even industry lobbyists say beauty school is rarely a ticket to a thriving career.
Only 1 to 2 percent of beauty school graduates will be working in the field five years from graduation, said Bonnie Poole, treasurer of the Florida Cosmetology Association.