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Dublin Beauty College Provides ROP Students with Real-World Experience and the Path to a Recession-Proof Career

June 16, 2014
Students Lexie Winter and Lupe Garcia

Students Lexie Winter and Lupe Garcia

The last time you had your hair cut & styled or nails done you were likely pleased with the service, and may even have a long standing relationship with your service provider. You may take for granted the quality of service you received. But what led to that individual acquiring the skills to deliver such a personal service? You’d likely be surprised to learn that 1,600 hours of practical experience and study are required just to be licensed. Features Writer Michael Utsumi dives into the world of cosmetology and the lives of several Valley High School ROP students in his latest feature article.

In the wake of the widely covered graduation ceremonies at Dublin High School, a rather quiet, yet equally important activity was happening right down the street on Village Parkway. Located in a non-descript shopping plaza sits the Dublin Beauty College, which continues on as one of the older businesses in town and is one of two Arnold Beauty College locations. More than forty students were completing their daily afternoon of study and hands-on training in cosmetology.

The opportunity to enroll in a cosmetology program exists for high school students and adults and is an element of the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program (ROP). ROP provides learning opportunities in multiple industries/disciplines. Further, students are welcome to take an ROP class on any campus or industry site in Dublin, Pleasanton or Livermore.

As it specifically relates to beauty colleges in the Bay Area, there are many choices. However, students enrolled in ROP are eligible to participate at a zero or reduced tuition rate. From a practical matter, the students are striving to accumulate 1,600 hours of total course study and hands-on experience. Thereupon, the student is eligible to take the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology exam. The program is not completely free to students. They are expected to initially purchase a “kit” that includes vital tools and a textbook. The cost is roughly $900.00. However, tuition and learning comes at no cost once enrolled.

In order to understand more specifics, arranged a visit with Dublin Beauty College Supervisor, Mr. Jim Miles. Jim has been employed at the Dublin site since 2002 where he was promoted to Supervisor in 2007. Today, he oversees the work of staff and students at a salon that operates five days a week. Some of the students that we talked to referenced the high level of rigor in the program (hours and commitment). How does this rigor translate to potential success in ultimately passing the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology exam?

Supervisor Jim Myles

Supervisor Jim Miles

Jim Miles: “You need to work hard and have the commitment or you will not pass the state board test. It takes hard work. What make it harder for some my students is they go to school and come to this class and some have a part-time job. There are two parts to the state board test. You have the practical part that is hands on and the written part. All my students are doing very well with the practical. But with the written part is much harder and will require much harder work.” You’re obviously passionate about the program. Why do you think that Cosmetology provides a positive career path?

Miles: “It’s a great job but you really have to like doing hair or it will never work. It’s also a good job when the economy is bad, you will have a job. People still have to get their hair done. They might not go out to eat, but they will pay to get a haircut. I always heard that hairstyling is recession proof. You may not make as much money but you will still have a job.”  Upon completion of the program, have some of your former students returned to Dublin Beauty College? If so, please share some of their feedback.

Miles: “Yes, I do hear from students all the time. Some are doing so well that it makes me proud they came to this school, and that we were of some help getting them to where they are now. I hear from students that I thought might not do to well and to my surprise they doing very well. I like it when I am wrong, because I want all my students to do well. And some will not do hair because they will change their mind. That’s okay, too if their happy with what they doing.” Anything else that you would like to add?

Miles: “Having ROP for this program has helped students to prepare for their future job for a very small charge. Some of these students would never have the money to go to other cosmetology schools. So I am glad we could be here to help the students that really want to be in cosmetology for a living.”

Students Monica Krommenhock, Lexie Winter, Peggy Walker

Monica Krommenhock, Lexie Winter, Peggy Walker

Presently, five students from Valley High School are enrolled in the cosmetology program at Dublin Beauty College. This group includes four juniors and one senior. For all of them, the ROP opportunity represents a very rigorous commitment. From Tuesday to Friday, they are expected to be onsite from 1:00 – 4:30 PM. Additionally, the students study/work all day on Saturdays. During the summer, it is like a full-time job. All of this commitment is there to help students hone their craft and to accumulate the required 1,600 hours of instruction. Clearly, we wanted to gain the students perspective. After a quick vote, the group designated Ms. Monica Krommenhock as the spokesperson. Our conversation follows. How did you become aware of this specific ROP opportunity and why did you did you decide to give it a try?

Monica Krommenhock: “I learned about this program from my friend that went to Valley High School with me; she attended Dublin Beauty College and said it was free while you are in high school, so I thought it would be a good way to start out my life as a young adult with a skilled trade.” Because your school day doesn’t really end until 4:30 PM, please describe how your enrollment in ROP has assisted in your own time management.

Krommenhock: “Getting out at 4:30 PM is tough, especially when you try to maintain a job a few days a week from 5:00 to 10:00 after you get out. I have learned to manage my time carefully: to work smart, and take advantage of as many breaks as I can since sometimes I have 14 hour days between work and school.”  Once that you have attained 1,600 hours in the program, you will be positioned to take the CA State board exam. Please explain the options that you are currently considering thereafter.

Krommenhock: “Once I pass the State board exam and get my license, my options consist of furthering my education, interning at a salon, starting work at a smaller shop like Cost Cutters or Sports Clips, or renting out my own chair and have my own clients. Currently I am thinking about an internship, because I don’t want to keep going to school and I don’t want to start working immediately. And, it takes a couple years until you have a steady clientele. I am planning on furthering my education at a community college and deciding what I want to do once I receive my AA.” Please describe how your participation in an ROP program has enhanced your overall experience as a student at Valley High School.

Krommenhock: “This program has enhanced my experience as a Valley student because it gave me the opportunity to receive my elective credits (15 per quarter) in a way that I can be personally interested in. It has made me more responsible and I feel more ready for my life as an adult.”

As Jim Miles and Ms. Krommenhock have demonstrated, the Tri-Valley ROP is a valuable program for post high school career readiness. would like to thank both of them for sharing their thoughts on the program at the Dublin Beauty College. And the next time you have your hair cut and styled, or your nails rejuvenated, remember that he or she was a student of cosmetology once too!

Dublin Beauty College Lecture Notes

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