NE Ohio salons concerned about bill proposing cuts in required cosmetology training

MENTOR, Ohio - Some northeast Ohio salon owners are concerned House Bill 189, which proposes cuts in mandatory cosmetology training, could create a potential public safety issue.

The measure sponsored by State Representatives Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) calls for a reduction in training for cosmetology licensing from 1500 hours to 1000 hours.

Bill proponents believe the measure will improve Ohio’s cosmetology laws by allowing more cosmetology graduates to enter the workforce earlier and with less debt, thus increasing entrepreneurship and bolstering the workforce for Ohio’s salons.

But some local salon owners, like Jennifer Pealer with Jenniffer and Company Salon in Mentor, believe a reduction in required training can set-up future cosmetologists for potential salon mistakes. Pealer believes 1500 hours of training is needed to insure cosmetologists are prepared to use potentially hazardous chemicals and equipment on a daily basis.

"The biggest thing is public safety," said Pealer. "Hair damage can occur very easily without proper training. What happens is there is damage to the follicle, the hair breaks off, and if it's not reproduced, there could be balding."

Salon owner Nancy Brown owns the Brown Aveda and Casal Aveda Institutes for cosmetology training in Northeast Ohio and believes HB-189, and its companion Senate bill, SB-129, are being considered for the benefit of chain salons, which provide quick hair cuts and not more technical services.

Brown believes the measures sets cosmetologists up to be under-trained, and could also cut training for nail technicians to just 100 hours.

"The equipment we use requires training, the shears we use are sharp enough to perform surgery," said Brown. "Our curling irons at the professional level are 450 degrees. The pedicures and manicures, people have lost toes, they had all kinds of injuries because of uncleanness."

News 5 reached out to State Representatives Kristina Roegner and she issued the following response:

“House Bill 189 is a bipartisan effort to reduce artificial governmental barriers  to those seeking employment in the cosmetology industry. The 1000 hour requirement came about in part based on the following:
1. A national study across all 50 states showed virtually no difference in graduation and licensure rates. (So why require the additional 500 hrs which prevent the individual from entering the workforce and potentially could drive up their student debt)
2. Currently NY and MA have 1000 hr requirement, so it has been proven successful: we should look across our great nation for best practices whenever we can 3.  If becoming an EMT requires 150 hrs, becoming a real estate agent requires 120 hrs, becoming a police officer requires 695 hrs ... common sense would tell anyone that 1000 hrs is more than enough training to be a cosmetologist. 
House Bill 189 helps Ohioans by reducing the barriers to employment for those wishing to enter the workforce in the cosmetology industry.  Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have to question why it currently requires more hours of training to cut someone's hair than it does to become a nurse or a police officer or an EMT.”
Those against HB-189 have set up an on-line petition.

Meanwhile, Brown said the bill could be voted on in the House as early as mid-May.

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