MILWAUKEE— From bus drivers to chefs, demand is high for jobs that require specific skills but not a four-year degree. It is something that is true for barbers and hair stylists, too.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for those roles to grow nearly 20% over the next decade. In recent years, many older barbers and hair stylists have decided to retire, and pandemic-related closures prompted others to leave the industry. As salons and shops rehire, it can work to the advantage of those new to the field. 

Hakim Hardy will graduate from Milwaukee Area Technical College’s barber training program later this month. He works in the college’s training barber shop but will soon be on his own. Hardy said he has heard from numerous shops that would be interested in having him work there. 

“I think in any industry people are always going to retire, and need new people to fill those spots so I feel good about finding my place in a new industry,” said Hardy as he cut a customer's hair.

Jahnarie Fayne is a student in MATC’s cosmetology program, and will soon be a hair stylist. Like Hardy, Fayne said the job outlook has been good. 

“A bunch of great opportunities here in Milwaukee here so I have been looking around,” said Fayne.

Staff with MATC’s barber and cosmetology programs said they have had many shops and salons reach out the them recently to inquire about talent that is about to graduate. ​