Rend Lake College can now proclaim another landmark as the first public institution the Paul Mitchell company has ever accepted as a partner school.
RLC’s new Cosmetology program, housed in shiny new, state-of-the-art facilities at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon, is scheduled to open its doors for the first day of class November 3.
Enrollment applications are still being accepted, but seats are expected to fill quickly thanks to a growing waiting list even though the program could not be officially publicized prior to state approval. New students will be enrolled on an ongoing basis every nine weeks, according to Jim Hull, RLC Vice President of Instruction.
"This is a Paul Mitchell Partner School," Hull said. The Rend Lake College program is the only one of its kind in a 100-mile radius and is the only public school which has been accepted as a partner; other schools which are Paul Mitchell partners are private schools.
According to Hull, Paul Mitchell is using RLC as a model to determine the success of the program in a public setting.
The goal for Paul Mitchell is to have a maximum of 80 partner schools nationwide. Currently, there are 18, Hull said, and only one other exists in upstate Illinois.
Cosmetology not only is the art of hair styling but also encompasses skin treatments, such as facials, and nail care, including manicures, pedicures and artificial nails. However, Paul Mitchell schools take cosmetology to another level.
According to RLC Cosmetology Program Director Kenita Dudley, Paul Mitchell’s style of instruction focuses on new ways of teaching and learning. "It’s not a traditional lecture style," said Dudley, who is a certified Paul Mitchell instructor.
Students will start to learn through hands-on experience up front, she said. Students immediately begin working with mannequins and after training, they serve real clients.
"This will be the premier Cosmetology school in Southern Illinois," indicated Hull, emphasizing the affiliation with a nationally recognized partner like Paul Mitchell.
The program entails 38 credit hours. Classes are available Monday through Saturday. At $9,100, it is the most financially reasonable Paul Mitchell school available, according to Dudley. Tuition alone at other Paul Mitchell schools costs a minimum of $12,500, according to Vice President of Finance Bob Carlock.
Carlock also emphasized financial aid in the form of grants and student loans is available for many students enrolling in the Cosmetology program.
Although less expensive than other Paul Mitchell schools, RLC’s program lasts roughly the same length of time - one calendar year. Students will attend for two semesters and a summer term.
The maximum enrollment for the new program is 120 students. This is based on housing the program in its current facility with hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Part-time Cosmetology Instructor Susan Mulvany has been appointed to help with the program.
The general public promises to benefit as well. Beginning in January, the salon at the MarketPlace, dubbed "Studio RLC," will be open to the public. A complete line of Paul Mitchell products will be available for purchase at the salon.
"This will be a full-service school that will service the public," said Dudley. She said tentative operating hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dudley said students will have more than 150 hours of training before working on clients; an instructor will be on hand at all times.
Paul Mitchell instructors "go way beyond the basics," said Dudley. Students in RLC’s Cosmetology program will focus on actual hands-on skills rather than textbook learning. Carlock noted that "RLC is committed to spending more money on curriculum than other schools," adding that Dudley and Hull have taken several trips to California for training and information on the Paul Mitchell program. Dudley said she likely will return to California twice a year and to other sites annually for continuing training and education, adding up to about 250 hours per year.
"That’s a lot of training compared to any other school," Dudley said.
In addition to advanced cosmetology skills, Paul Mitchell also teaches the "Paul Mitchell Culture,"said Dudley. "The learning process is different at a Paul Mitchell school," she said. "It’s not just straight lecture. Students truly learn not only how to cut hair, but to do it in such a way the client is happy, satisfied and will return to your business."
The advantage to the student of going through a Paul Mitchell partner school, according to Dudley, is vastly increased marketability. Dudley said Paul Mitchell’s program is ideal for those "who want a career, not a job." It also is terrific preparation for those wishing to go into business for themselves, she added. A Paul Mitchell Partner School graduate operates on a higher level than a graduate from a regular cosmetology school, Dudley said.
Paul Mitchell schools are known for their atmosphere, learning style and the enjoyment of the program. Eventually, continuing education will be made available at RLC for area cosmetologists, according to Hull.
Dudley and Mulvany each have obtained their cosmetology licenses. Dudley has become a Learning Leader Advisor through Paul Mitchell and also has undergone the franchise’s Learning Leader Training, Learning Leader Core Training and Learning Leader Advisory Training. She has had her cosmetology license for 20 years and has been licensed as a cosmetology instructor for the past four years.
Mulvany owns her own business - Sizzors in Salem - and has taken the Learning Leader Core Training through Paul Mitchell. She will be going next week to California with Dudley to take Learning Leader Training and will continue to train with Paul Mitchell instructors in the future.
For more information about the program or to register, contact Dudley at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 2030. For information about financial aid, contact Doug Carlson, Director of Financial Aid, at Ext. 1385 or 1298.