Hands-on Education Prepares Students for Future Careers
September 7, 2016 12:48 PM
At Coastal Pines Technical College (CPTC), 16 budding stylists were practicing deep conditioning and other hair-styling methods on Tuesday in a lab setting that features all the amenities of a full-service salon.
Lisa Rumbaugh, a Coastal Pines student in the cosmetology program, said her experience in the classroom is preparing her well for a career as a stylist in a salon. “I work at the Sea Island Salon right now, and my hopes are that when I graduate I’ll be able to have a chair there,” she said.
Through the Coastal Pines cosmetology program, Rumbaugh is able to receive the kind of hands-on experience that will translate directly into a job. At both the high school and college level, Glynn County students are taking part in hands-on education opportunities that are preparing them for careers in a variety of fields.
Brunswick High and Glynn Academy students interested in early education can take part in a program called Pint Pirates, through which they take care of local 3-year-olds in a daycare setting. Lisa Marie McDaniel, the program’s instructor, said students are responsible for making lesson plans and teaching the toddlers. Before high school students can take care of the 3-year-olds, they must first complete two prerequisite classes that train them in safety, health, emergency procedures, codes of ethics and educational theories. “We basically have to cover everything,” McDaniel said. “It’s amazing what these kids can do when they walk out of here.”
McDaniel, who majored in pre-medicine in college, said she didn’t realize until it was too late where her real passions lay. She learned later that she most wanted to be a teacher, and she’s been leading the Pint Pirates program for the last 10 years, teaching high school students and 3-year-old simultaneously. “If I’d had this opportunity in school, I wouldn’t have wasted 70 hours of pre-med science,” she said.
McDaniel said the credit the students earn in this pathway translate directly into college course credit at most colleges and universities. “The hands-on experience teaches students responsibility and provides them with a real-world look at what working in that field consists of,” McDaniel said. “I can watch them at the beginning of the year, and at the end it’s like they’re just beaming because they’ve come out of their shells,” she said.
Hands-on learning is a major component of the education at the Golden Isles Career Academy and Coastal Pines Technical College. Students who choose the collision repair and auto service classes learn the basics of vehicle repair, including automotive servicing, light changes, brake jobs, cooling system repairs and more.
“The shop is set up just like a mechanic’s would be, whether it’s a dealership or a repair shop. We have the same special tools,” said Roy McDowell, the program’s instructor. “It’s about as real world as you can get.”
Cars in the shop are supplied by the students themselves and Glynn County school system administrators. The pathway requires three courses, and many students complete it in two years, McDowell said. And he said students who wish to take these skills into a career and become full-fledged mechanics can continue their education at Coastal Pines Technical College.
Students in the cosmetology program at Coastal Pines start the semester working only on the hair of mannequin heads, but they’ll soon advance to doing each other’s hair. And in January, they’ll be accepting clients from the public. “It really helps them to start getting comfortable in their skin,” said Katherine Ellis, the program’s instructor. “This is a people-pleasing business. It takes them a while to get comfortable.”
Ellis said each student has to log 1,500 hours before they can take the state certification test. “What we teach is entry level skills and board prep, getting them ready to take the state board test,” Ellis said. “But in this industry, you never stop learning.”
Students also study the administration of hair and nail treatments in the summer months. When they are not in the salon practicing, cosmetology students are in the classroom studying theory or taking tests. “A lot of the public doesn’t understand what you have to go through to get this license,” Ellis said. “They have to have a basic knowledge of chemistry, anatomy. And we really stress safety and sanitation.”
Ellis said her students have a 100 percent pass rate on the state board test. “We’re really proud of it — we’re proud of the facility, proud of the progress we’ve made, proud of the impact on the community,” she said.
“The cosmetology industry,” Ellis said, “will never be taken over by machines, so this kind of hands-on education will always be crucial. You’ve got to put in the time,” she continued. “Even a lawyer doesn’t come out of college knowing how to be in the courtroom — that takes some experience.”
The salon, located in the new building on the CPTC Golden Isles campus at 3700 Glynco Parkway, will be open to the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
To make an appointment, call (912) 280-4004.
Article by Lauren McDonald / The Brunswick News