A few years back, Reuters.com shared a poll indicating that only 14 percent of Americans claim to have their dream job, while the other 86 percent are either looking to change careers or simply working to pay the bills. This alarming statistic was the catalyst behind "Get Your Dream Job," an initiative created by the International Spa Association and the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation in an effort to recruit qualified talent for beauty industry jobs—what Lynelle Lynch, owner of Bellus Academy and president of the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation, refers to as the best-kept secret.
Twelve-plus years ago, Lynch's husband asked her to take over the leadership of one of his many businesses: three beauty schools. The president of the schools had tragically passed away, and Lynch was tasked with determining if they should sell the schools or evaluate potential opportunities. To aid with her decision, she recruited an advisory board made up of San Diego spa and salon owners.
"It was through this group's guidance that I uncovered a tremendous disconnect in the education that beauty schools provided and the career skills required by the industry," Lynch says. "While we were evaluating the education needed to meet industry demand, I was emotionally torn by the stories of students who weren't supported by their families to pursue a career in the beauty industry," she adds. In 2009, as a board member for the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), Lynch chaired the association's annual convention and staged the first Beauty Changes Lives event to combat the divide.
The event showcased individuals like Ted Gibson, Stephen Moody and the late Fabio Simonelli, each of whom shared stories of how beauty changed their lives, and eventually became the driving force behind the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation. Six years since its initial launch, the foundation continues to showcase careers in beauty and wellness as a first choice option instead of a last ditch effort.
A study completed by Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) projects 1,343,000 jobs over the next 10 years in the beauty industry, and 750,000 of those jobs are for cosmetologists. In an effort to recruit qualified talent, the Get Your Dream Job initiative empowers beauty professionals to talk with clients about their careers and encourage them to enroll in beauty school to help meet the job demand. "We have the power as an industry to share our story with each of our guests and illustrate that careers in beauty are dream jobs," Lynch says.
Salons can download promotional materials, such as posters, talking points and scholarship applications, from the Get Your Dream Job website to get the conversation started. Given the robust response from salons, partners and national media, Lynch is certain the initiative will continue to evolve. "It is so inspiring to recognize that we have the power to unite the industry and position Beauty Changes Lives as a mainstay foundation," she says. "Since its launch just a few months ago, it's exciting to see the Get Your Dream Job initiative approach a tipping point."