change the regulations for licensing in cosmetology and barbering.

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This petition is to bring some sense of the system of capitalism and free market that our country was founded on to the cosmetology and barbering industry. To make more jobs available to the public, and to give some of the money this industry generates back to the states and communities we serve.

I am a veteran and hopeful business owner who has graduated from cosmetology school. Getting out of the military and trying to find work has been a struggle for me, one that I share with many of my fellow citizens. Recently I have seen many ways that the board of cosmetology and third party administrative agencies are cornering and controlling the market, making it more difficult for myself and others to find work and also bring in talent to advance the industry further. The current system is not only keeping opportunities for people to find work limited, but setting in place an oligarchy and monopoly to control the market; keeping money out of the local economy that could be going to public services and personal quality of life enhancements. This a multi billion dollar industry and the over regulation of it is keeping that money out of our communities.

According to Wisconsin Administrative Code ch. SPS 221 - “does not provide for training/certification requirements for practitioners”. That is what the state has to say about the requirements to be a tattoo artist. They are this way because tattooing falls under the category of “body art”. I don’t know any barber or cosmetologist that wouldn’t consider themselves an “artist” or what they do "body art". So my questions are “why is a service like tattooing, a permanent body modification, considered body art, While cutting and styling hair which is impermanent and safe enough that we can do it to children, not considered body art?” to add “why is the process to become a barber or cosmetologist more controlled and regulated than becoming a tattoo artist?”

The requirements set in place to graduate from schools of cosmetology and barbering should be ample evidence that a person who graduates is competent to work in the field. We should be able to graduate from school, register and pay for licensing at the Department of Safety and Public Services, and be gainfully employed. The educators, business owners, and hiring managers are the ones who should be assessing the level of competency of a student or prospective employee as it is this way in any other industry.

These testing agencies charge hundreds of dollars to take an exam, the same exam they administer is already taken multiple times throughout the education process; making “their exam” costly and redundant. This money could be going towards continuing education and tools for work. I agree with a continuing education credit to be overseen by the DSPS and a requirement for re licensing; it is a good way to ensure employees are staying current and up to date on techniques and products. I think that all of the requirements set in place to become licensed in the industry; like hour requirements, test scores from school, and attendance are a good indication of basic understandings of the work environment. They are the same requirements in place for graduation from a cosmetology or barbering school; there is no need for the board of cosmetology or administrative agencies to further assess students.

While I think an understanding of the chemicals we use, safety, sanitation and everything else covered in our cosmetology books is important, I think the responsibility to uphold standards should be between the schools, employers, and organizations like OSHA (occupational safety and health association), and DSPS (department of safety and public services).
Our right to seek and gain employment, and competency in our work should be between us, our educators, and employers; Not a third party administration company, unless they want to be responsible for paying the fines we get for failing to meet industry and safety standards. Barber shops and salons, just like any other business already have to have insurance to cover public safety, and we have to pay our own fines for infringements of work place safety violations. These administration companies and the board of cosmetology are collecting money and have no real responsibility to ensure the safety of the public.

The testing and licensing process varies too much from state to state, which makes our right to move freely and work in each state unreliable and unrealistic. I think we should retain having to recieve a graduation certificate from a schol, or apprenticeship in the industry as a requirement to practice; but that we eliminate third party exams and any third party intervention to the process of being hired. Paying more money to take these exams again, administered by a third party private organization is redundant and costly; that is money that should be going toward our continued education, tools, and our respective states. The price we pay for our education should include our proof of understanding safety regulations and basic knowledge to start working in the field. Any administrative costs for licensing should be paid to the state after graduation not an administration company.

I ask that you join me in asking congress to address this issue and turn the oversight of this industry to the schools, business owners and the states licensing agencies. That the nation recognizes a graduation certificate from a school of cosmetology or barbering as acceptable proof of competency to work in the industry; as long as a hiring manager and place of business thinks that the individual is competent in their work, and able to comply with OSHA and DSPS standards. This could open more jobs to the public, lessen the over all cost and financial burden to students and people moving from state to state, and also return more money to the communities we serve while still ensuring clients receive the best possible service that we can provide.

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