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Pickens Technical College and its cosmetology program are highly involved in the community of Aurora and Denver, turning up to cut hair for the homeless or competing against other cosmetology students at the SkillsUSA competition held every year.

This year, several PTC cosmetology students participated in the highly-skilled, highly competitive skills challenges and brought home some honors for their school and program.

The PTC cosmetology program prepares students not only to cut hair and make people look good but also how to build the connections and relationships that will one day make their small nails and makeup business take off.

Teaching students in the cosmetology program is Shirleen Woods, a veteran teacher with 20 years of instruction experience under her belt and 35 years in the industry overall. Her clients don’t forget her, and even though she devotes her time to her students at PTC, she still sees a few long-time clients help them with hair troubles. She teaches the Nail Technology program at PTC now after teaching at the Emily Griffin Opportunity School for ten years. She knows what it takes to be a successful nail, skin, and hair expert, and offers her students plenty of opportunities to practice and hone their skills.

And there may not be a better place for students to hone their skills in a competitive setting than by participating in SkillsUSA challenges. From state to national competitions, SkillsUSA pits students of many disciplines in technical and human services industries against each other for prizes and bragging rights. Training for these events is rigorous, and only the top students in each group succeed.

In the cosmetology section of SkillsUSA, students must demonstrate their technical skills in haircutting, hair styling, and long hair design in four independent tests. These contests are controlled and fair, with each student using mannequins each with the same type of hair. Students have to create a 90-degree woman’s haircut and a woman’s and man’s cut from a finished photo provided them. Students present their mannequins to the audience and the judges onstage.

These exciting skills competitions quickly teach students how they can improve and how the real business of cutting hair can be. Even working independently for their own businesses after graduation, they will be competing with others to show they can cut hair better.

PTC students showed well at the SkillsUSA competition a few weeks ago, with several students, including Leycha Albino, earning recognition in nail care, and others earning accolades in hair care and more.

With more students entering the cosmetology industry from PTC, there are bound to be more quality hair and nail care salons in the Denver area in the next few years. PTC students have proven their skills at these events time and time again. Their instructors and mentors couldn’t be more proud when their students show up and perform well against fierce competitors from around the state and around the country.