New York, NY – On January 6, The New York Nail Salon Worker School, operated by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), in partnership with Workers’ United NY-NJ Joint Board, graduated its 500th worker.
The program has been instrumental in empowering New York’s nail salon workers since its start in 2016, when it began offering training programs for workers to get their permanent licenses. The School offers the mandatory training courses required for manicurists to become licensed and prepares them for the required New York State exams.
Once technicians pass the test and receive their licenses, they are able to perform their work in safer and healthier ways – benefitting both themselves and the client. Trained technicians are also better able to more confidently advocate for applicable standards in their salons and the industry at large.
In addition to the state-mandated training to obtain a license, the school requires students to take four “know-your-rights” workshops, covering health and safety, wages and hours, immigration, and labor. In this way, students not only become licensed manicurists – they also learn about their rights and how to build transformative power within the industry.
To date, the New York Nail Salon Worker School boasts a 95% pass rate on the written exam and 100% pass rate on the practical exam. Other comparable schools have pass rates of just 60% and NYCOSH’s School has the highest pass rate in New York, per the New York Department of State.
Hundreds of women are signed up to enroll in the school, which utilizes participatory-based education techniques to ensure its high success rates. Workers are taught in a fundamentally different way than proprietary schools and include information that goes beyond the required curriculum.
Many nail salon workers have never taken a written test before, for example, and NYCOSH’s school incorporates these kinds of basic skills into its curriculum to ensure workers can be successful. In addition to offering classes in Spanish, Nepali and English, the New York Nail Salon Worker School is the only institution of its kind in the state that offers courses for students with profound literacy issues. Due to its high success rate, the school has a long waiting list and is very well-respected within the industry.
Laura Quiroz, the 500th graduate, is 30-years-old and originally from Ecuador. She works in Manhattan, and participated in the training program, from November/December 2019 and graduated January 6. When asked how the program helped her, she said, “They explained many things to me about the work that I do. It really helped me a lot to learn the work of a manicurist. How to protect my health, about the chemicals, and about my rights.”
The next 26-hour course (Spanish) began on Jan 7th and runs every Tuesday through February 11th. The hours are 9:30am-5pm. Graduation will be on March 3rd.
The course after that (Spanish low-literacy) will run on Wednesdays from Feb 26-April 1, 9:30am-5pm; graduation will be on April 22nd.
To find out more about the New York Nail Salon Worker School, navigate here.