‘We can’t get jobs’: Cosmetologists hit licensing roadblock during pandemic


SAN DIEGO — More than 7,000 cosmetology graduates in San Diego County have been unable put their investment in education to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

At New PMU Academy in North Park, advanced student Elaine Le says she has spent thousands of dollars trying to launch her new career and is now armed with amazing skills thanks to high-quality training.

“Oh, I have invested close to $7,000 into this schooling, so it’s quite a bit of money,” Le told FOX 5 Friday.

But the final, in-person component of testing required to earn a license and begin working as a cosmetologist was shut down due to COVID-19 in March 2020. And a year later, California is offering just two license testing locations, operating at 50% capacity.

In an appearance Friday, Representative Darrell Issa said: “(In) our state, our county, they’re not really doing their part to get people back to work.”

He met with cosmetology students and graduates at Bellus Academy’s El Cajon campus to learn about the struggles they’ve faced.

“We can’t get jobs right now. You can’t be an assistant without a license, because you can’t touch people,” Bellus Academy graduate Delanie Gourley said.

Rep. Issa said she would be able to at least get a job as an assistant if Governor Gavin Newsom was aware of this problem and stepped in, exercising his executive power.

“You’d be able to be paid as long as you were working with somebody who was certified. You’d be under their license and that would be a win-win,” he said.

Issa is proposing a work-study program that he says has been successful in many other states. You can read more here.

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