In an industry like cosmetology, where all services revolve around hair, skin and nails, getting up close and personal to people is a big part of the job.
For those looking to make a career in the beauty business, the pandemic is taking a toll.
“I had 84 students pre-COVID,” said Donna Kramer, executive director at Empire Beauty School. “I have 72 right now.”
Kramer says COVID-19 initially caused the campus to close.
It’s recently reopened with new restrictions set by the local health department. Class sizes are smaller, fewer clients can come in due to social distancing and all students have to wear masks.
The area that’s taken the biggest hit, however, is attendance.
“It’s kind of toying with people’s personal lives,” Kramer said. “We’ve had students that have had to miss a lot of school because of daycare issues. We’ve had students that have had to actually stay away temporarily because their spouses.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of hairstylists and cosmetologists is projected to drop by 1% by the end of the decade, which is leaving many students concerned that their career opportunities might be going down the drain.
“I know a lot of students kind of have that fear of not being able to find a job now with COVID,” said Alexis Lovato, a cosmetology student at Empire Beauty School.
Lovato says many of her classmates are concerned about their employment options once their training is complete.
“I think a lot of its just worried about being placed and what’s going to be available for them after their graduation,” she said.
Kramer says despite the challenges, students are still getting their hours in and while hands-on training may be a little different, it’s a style they can adapt to.
“This industry is going to really flourish once we can get through this,” she said.