About The Grooming Project
The Grooming Project is the pilot program of Empowering the Parent to Empower the Child (EPEC), a 501c3 nonprofit in Kansas City, MO devoted to helping impoverished families become self-reliant through job training high-demand, high-pay trade of pet grooming. The Grooming Project’s education-based approach not only financially empowers single parents in poverty through equipping them with credentials in a competitive market, but it also ensures that they focus on improving their family’s future as a whole through parenting and budgeting classes, mental health treatment, life skills courses, and other needed medical services coordinated with many local organizations.
The pilot program teaches animal grooming, which our research reveals is in high demand in the Kansas City area. Groomers make an annual salary from $30k-$70k. 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.
Learn more about The Grooming Project in this story about one of our students in the Kansas City Star!
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.