Pima JTED offers career and technology programs to high schoolers in the Tucson area. One of their most popular programs is the JTED Academy of Cosmetology.

Shaye McCane did not have what most would consider to be a traditional path in high school. She briefly dropped out of high school during her sophomore year and had plans on earning her G.E.D and going to cosmetology school.

However, her school advisor contacted Pima JTED to see what options would be available to her. After Pima JTED reached out to her, she enrolled at an alternative high school so she could also enroll in Pima JTEDs cosmetology program.

I never went to prom, I didnt go to a cap and gown graduation, I ended up with the wrong crowd, but I was still able to find who I was, find my voice and go on my journey in a way that feels successful and in line with who I am, McCane said.

McCane was part of one of the programs first cohorts, but now eleven years later the program is still running strong and is in high demand.

Traditional cosmetology programs are thousands of dollars, but Pima JTED offers the program free of cost to its students.

When I found out about JTED, I just found it as a really good opportunity, because I know beauty school is very expensive and being able to do it in high school is just a really good opportunity, Pima JTED student Liana Gamez said.

Students get the same certification at the completion of the program as they would get from attending a traditional cosmetology school. During their second year in the program they work at the schools salon, Cutting Class.

After graduating, McCane worked at several different salons while figuring out what it is she really wants to do. She always found herself going back to cutting hair and eventually decided to open up a salon of her own.

I realized I can run a business, I want to create my own business to create a space where people can build on their own idea of success and where it’s a safer space and non-toxic, McCane said.

Gomez has the same goal as McCane.

I want to definitely open up my own salon, and I want to have everything we have here.

McCanes salon opened in July 2022.