A Career Path Inside Out

I recently had the opportunity to witness cosmetology students from the Bill R. Johnson CTE Center, located in Crowley ISD, practice their instructional skills at a princess party. I was amazed at their professionalism, their attention to detail, and the experience that these young ladies showed while working with their youthful clientele. The high school students were participating in a princess birthday party for my daughter, who turned nine. What a fabulous party experience they provided! Each of my daughter’s friends had pedicures, manicures, facials, makeup application, and their hair styled. This party provided an opportunity that most adults do not get to experience. The young ladies in the cosmetology program gained needed instructional hours while they also gained experience in their chosen career path, “inside out,” so to speak.

What do I mean by a career inside out? It’s about the core competencies that drive change in our world. The difference defined by the new skills and the ultimate ability to work toward a certification that changes the trajectory of students’ lives. Allowing students to study, learn, and Crowley ISD is providing practice before they decide to pursue a life-changing career full-time through the means of career and technology education centers.

Cosmetology students require a great deal of practice, in-person observation, and interactive learning. The number of course hours as are necessary for various cosmetology licenses varies and can require as many as 1,500 hours. Students that attend the Bill R. Johnson CTE Center have the opportunity in middle school to learn about the program offerings. The school district makes it a priority to engage the local business community to provide insight into the positive impact that the CTE programs of study have on the local economy. In turn, the students learn how they can genuinely contribute to their community while they’re learning. Additionally, they help themselves become productive and successful.

I’m amazed by the amount of talent that students showcase at Crowley ISD events. The teachers responsible for many CTE programs often are from industry. The teachers provide insight for the student for the day-to-day function of the chosen career path; it’s an insight that can give the students the depth of knowledge needed to understand what they are pursuing and to determine if they will continue pursuing the path.

Crowley ISD’s new Bill R. Johnson CTE Center is under construction and will be completed for the fall of the 2020- 2021 school year. The design of the programs’ physical space is industry-inspired. To ensure students are receiving optimal academic support, the cosmetology teachers traveled to a vendor’s facility (outside of education) that provides cosmetology equipment for commercial salons. Decisions made after this tour ensured students would be learning on equipment that best prepared them for their work upon graduation. What an opportunity for each of them to use high-quality material in their school!

The cosmetology students are required to have practical skills before taking the state exam for licensure. To get their needed hours, students are required to practice their skills. Interpersonal skills cannot derive from reading a textbook, nor can they be taught without having a one-on-one, face-to-face experience that is so important to the cosmetologist and client relationship. The instructor who has real-life experience in that chosen field gives students a wealth of both knowledge and insight that they will use throughout their successful careers. A career path inside out is a reflective journey for students. When students continue to build upon their chosen career path after they complete the program, they help ensure their future with a significant amount of necessary tools for success.