Hays CISD students graduating career-ready with valuable licenses

Hays CISD offers students a wide variety of programs for students including cosmetology school. (KXAN Photo)
Hays CISD offers students a wide variety of programs for students including cosmetology school. (KXAN Photo)

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — It’s graduation season and that means thousands of students will be walking out of high school doors searching for a job. The Hays Consolidated Independent School District says it is graduating students who are career-ready and hoping to fill a shortage of employees across a number of industries.

“Many of these students will go to college after this, but they can work their way through college and make a really good salary along the way,” said Hays CISD Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Suzi Mitchell.

The school district offers a wide range of CTE courses. If a student meets all requirements, they can graduate with a certificate or license in cosmetology, culinary arts, criminal justice, engineering, welding or even as a veterinary technician.

Celeste McCradic is a junior at Jack C. Hays High School, but has been in the cosmetology program for two years. She says she always knew she wanted to do something that involved hair and makeup.

“When I was little, I was coloring my Barbies to make them look like they had makeup on,” said McCradic. “And, when I was really little I actually cut off all of my own hair, my mom wasn’t very happy with me.”

As a high school student it’s a different story. McCradic has paying clients. “We do a lot of people’s hair and when they leave they are really happy,” she said.

Cosmetology student Courtney Frerich, said, “On Tuesdays and Wednesdays we have salon night from 4:30 to 7:30 and anyone can come and get their hair cut, nails, shampoo, anything.”

For Frerich, she compares high school to college. “This is my college. This is something I am never going to get bored with.”

Frerich says she has dreams of working her way up and eventually opening her own salon.

The Hair by Hays salon provides services like any other salon. “Everything that encompasses cosmetology; hair, skin and nails we do it all. I don’t turn anyone away,” said Hair by Hays Instructor Gabriel Lopez.

Even though the program has only been offered for two years, Lopez says he’s already hearing success stories from former students. “I had one student, she was our first graduate ever and now she is living in San Antonio assisting a professional hair dresser,” he said.

Lopez says cosmetology school can cost around $20,000, but through the school district it only costs students $400.

“I think it’s better to take it during high school because if you take it out of high school you are going to pay much more,” said student Jasmine Diaz.

The cosmetology school is a result of the 2014 bond. A bond passed earlier this month will fund a new vet tech and culinary arts program.

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