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Golden Clips offers simulated work environment

Cosmetology students are used to helping with school theater makeup and prom looks for friends, but this year Russellville High School’s cosmetology department is opening its doors to the public for students to gain real-world experience.

In a studio called Golden Clips, the public can come receive a variety of services performed by Russellville students – for a fraction of the cost of a typical salon.

“We aren’t wanting to take business from local salons or anything but to give our students the chance to see what it is like working in a real salon,” explained Russellville Career Technical director Natalie Bendall.

The on-campus salon experience will be similar to what students would encounter in a typical salon. Students will perform services based on what level of education they have attained, with introductory students performing basic services and advanced students cutting and styling hair.

All services will be performed by students and supervised by cosmetology instructor Lisa Keeton.

“We have always had people ask if our students could offer their services, but we were just never able to,” Bendall said. “Now we can.”

Keeton said students typically practice on each other, but having the opportunity to work on clients will allow students to continually learn and practice their skills.

“I think when they can actually do hands-on learning, it’s the best, especially with customers,” Keeton said. “They can work on hair on each other, but it’s a higher standard when you’re actually working on a customer.”

It is best to schedule appointments ahead of time. Any chemical services will be scheduled for 8 a.m., and appointments will not be made after 9:30 a.m., to ensure students have time to finish.

The salon includes an employee handbook for students and an area where students can clock in and out. Students accumulate hours, which they can then “spend” like money in an online shop to buy everything from nail polish to curling irons.

This will be the first program at Russellville to implement Alabama’s Simulated Workplace to allow students to experience working in a salon while still receiving rigorous training and support.

Prices will range from $2-25, with services that take longer to complete costing more. All money generated will go directly back into the cosmetology program.

Golden Clips opened its doors for hair and makeup for middle school students participating in a Very Hippie Spooktacular before officially opening Oct. 28.

“The students loved having the cosmetology students help them get ready for Spooktacular,” said Russellville City School choral director Emily Rush. “All of the students looked so good.”