Learn more about The Grooming Project in this story about one of our students in the Kansas City Star!
About The Grooming Project
The Grooming Project is the pilot program of Empowering the Parents to Empower the Child (EPEC). EPEC is a 501c3 nonprofit devoted to empowering families to become self-reliant through job training, life skills and practical solutions to end their cycles of poverty. EPEC trains parents in a trade high in market demand that pays a livable wage.
The pilot program teaches animal grooming, which our research reveals is in high demand in the Kansas City area. Groomers make an average of $19 an hour. It is a profession in which individuals with many of the barriers to stable employment – including past addiction, criminal records and incomplete education – can find employment. Upon completion of the grooming program, student parents will be able to work in one of the areas 200 pet salons or even start their own animal grooming business.
The grooming school program entails 644 classroom hours in 23 weeks, taught by experienced instructors, and an internship in a commercial grooming salon. The parenting program teaches students the importance of active parenting, higher education, budget management, nurturing skills and resources.
Each student has a volunteer mentor who meets with her or him weekly to help with household budgeting and parenting questions. Mentors are parents in the community who understand the hardship our students face and encourage success.
After two years the grooming school will be partially self-sustaining through tuition fees, vocational rehab funding, reduced rate grooming. Additional funding will come from individual donations, corporate giving, grants and annual fundraisers.
Check out this interview with founder Natasha Kirsch about EPEC, the success of the first class of Grooming Project students, and what the future holds! And this story from The Pitch about our program, featuring graduate Tanisha Davis, who’s now working as a groomer at Petco.