College Rushes To Launch Cosmetology Plan

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Get ready, Payson — Gila Community College (GCC) intends to bring you a cosmetology program to train students for careers and certificates.

In a series of weekly meetings, the GCC board has rushed through two contracts needed to break ground on facilities to start a cosmetology program in Payson by the fall of 2014.

But it’s not been easy.

“The cosmetology program is starting to cause me to lose my hair,” said Stephen Cullen, dean of GCC at one of three meetings held in April and May to work out all of the details.

Cullen has worked tirelessly with Supervisor Tommie Martin and Matt Webber from the NAVIT (Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology) program to secure funding and building materials to start the program.

The Globe campus has had a cosmetology program for years. Currently the program pays for itself by providing services to community members. Cullen and GCC staff hope the Payson program will soon do the same.

The county has pledged $80,000 to help the program as it aids in the economic development of Gila County, all that remains is to have the supervisors pass the request. However, the board this week tabled the proposal based on opposition from board members representing south county and will take it up again in a special meeting on Tuesday.

NAVIT has given the program about $160,000 to purchase equipment and build out a modular building, but the regional vocational school district wants half of that money repaid over seven years.

“NAVIT has set aside a little over $100,000 to put into the building,” said Webber. “We are only asking for half of that to be paid back, but over seven years. This is a program that will help not only the high school students but adults as well … we look forward to working with the Payson community.”

Gila County has provided a modular building GCC can retrofit with equipment purchased with the NAVIT funds.

Payson Dean Pam Butterfield has found a certified instructor to teach the courses. Payson High School has already included NAVIT cosmetology classes in its fall course guide.

Cullen, Butterfield and Martin have worked to secure the location on the Payson campus for the building.

Everything is ready to go — hopefully it starts before Cullen loses too much hair to be cut.

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