(by Tylee Tracer, TDOC Public Information Officer)
HENNING – Offering offenders opportunities and access to a second chance is an important part of what we do in TDOC. At the Women’s Therapeutic Residential Center (WTRC), women enrolled in the cosmetology program are not only thriving, but they are also learning to navigate new challenges in the age of COVID-19.
According to instructor Janice Treadway, the cosmetology class has now been split into two groups to ensure social distancing between students; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Three deep cleanings of the classroom occur throughout the day and students have learned about additional safety steps that could be a part of their routine once they find employment in their communities.
“Twelve women are currently enrolled in the year-and-a-half long program and will have to complete 1,500 hours of course work in topics ranging from color and cuts to shampoo and perms. Upon completion of their training, the students are eligible to become state licensed cosmetologists.”
WTRC Resident, Shannel, received her license in 2017. She said cutting hair is her favorite part of the job. “Before I came to prison, I was in school for nursing and wanted to specialize in oncology. However, since I am now in prison I realized I had to explore new educational avenues,” Shannel said. “I wanted to learn something I can use where I could be there for someone. To me nursing wasn’t always about administering medicine, it was also being there for someone. In cosmetology, it’s the same thing- who do people usually confide in? It’s always their beautician!”
“This program teaches more than cosmetology,” Instructor Treadway said. “They learn responsibility, budgeting and respect for each other. I want them to see their work, and I want to see them make it and know they can achieve something. I want them to know their mistakes don’t define them.”
Shannel said she hopes to one day become a cosmetology instructor. “Just getting my license is a big accomplishment though. Ms. Treadway has inspired me to keep going. I’m ready to take my skills outside and I hope to own a shop one day. I want my shop to help people, like ex-felons and for people on a troubled path. I want it to be a charitable shop, because so much has been given to me.”