The Lebanon County Career and Technology Center is slimming down its cosmetology program next year to serve fewer students – and, according to CTC director Glenn Meck II, make way for a new course of study.
“We’re looking to expand our programs. We’re looking to meet the occupational demands of Lebanon County,” Meck said Monday afternoon. “We need to keep moving forward, meeting the demands of our local employers.”
The change comes with the upcoming retirement of one of the CTC’s two cosmetology instructors at the end of the current academic year, he said.
“With the retirement of a teacher, it is a good time to look at it,” Meck said. “Should we continue it at the level we are doing?”
State law requires a teacher for every 25 students in the program, he said.
There are currently 46 students enrolled in cosmetology, he said — and that number, he added, has been fairly consistent over recent years.
The change will cap student enrollment at 25 per year, Meck said. But that doesn’t mean fewer students will be entering the field as a career.
“We’re saturating the market with the number of cosmetologists,” he said. “We’re not sure they can absorb that number of graduates.”
Even so, he said, usually only about 20 percent of students who complete the program end up working in a cosmetology field. That led officials to discuss the possibility of cutting the program and adding something else in its place.
“This will free up a classroom,” Meck said. “The extra room will allow us to look at offering additional programs to the students of Lebanon County.”
School officials are looking at a few programs that might be a good fit, he said – among them, logistics, web design and veterinary assistant.
“This has just been a discussion,” he stressed. “Nothing has been planned, but those are three programs we see as viable in our area.”
It’s unlikely any new programs will be offered to students this coming fall, Meck added. Deciding on a course of study, making whatever facility improvements are necessary to accommodate it and obtaining approval from the state Department of Education takes time, he said; it’s more likely, he said, the new program will be offered in in the 2021-22 academic year.
He declined to guess what the new curriculum would cost to get up and running.
“It depends on the program,” he said. “But there is always an additional cost for a new program.”
Rumors are circulating that the cosmetology program is being cut from two years to one, but Meck said that’s not true.
Cosmetology is a half-day program for juniors and a full-day for seniors, he explained. Next year, to accommodate the reduction in student capacity, the CTC will not accept new students into the program, he said. But it will continue for juniors and seniors alike the following year, he added.
The change won’t affect any students who are already enrolled in the program, Meck said.
“I haven’t heard any negative feedback on this,” he said. “I think it’s a good move.”
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