In Wichita, laid-off workers drawn to cosmetology

Local cosmetology and barber schools are seeing an increase in older students as laid-off workers seek a new career.

Wichita has six cosmetology schools and a barber school, according to state records, that train hundreds of students.

The privately owned schools provide 10 to 12 months of instruction, plus all the equipment, with base tuition typically costing $14,000 to $15,000.

And, say the schools, there are jobs out there for their graduates — if they really want them.

While most of the students are still in their teens or early 20s, every new class now seems to include a few people looking for a new career in something they enjoy — hair, makeup and nails.

"We've got three engineers going to our cosmetology program, and that tells me something," said Mary Kay Mitchell, one of the owners of B Street Design-School of International Hair Styling, 1675 S. Rock Road.

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