May 25, 2016

Water Works Academy, the only cosmetology school connected to a salon within the state of Michigan, will be accepting new students for its classes beginning June 27.

Water Works Academy differs from other cosmetology schools in that it teaches more than the basic, traditional salon skills needed for students to pass the state board exam. Separated from the salon by a glass wall, the academy gives students an advantage by providing an understanding of how a real salon operates. The atmosphere allows students to experience more hands-on learning that readies them for careers not only as hair stylists, but also as cosmetic buyers, hair color technicians and salon managers.

The academy has had great success thus far, boasting a 100 percent graduation rate as well as 100 percent success rate for students passing the state bar exam.

With more than 20 years of experience, owner and director, Stephanie Dixon, opened the academy in Sept. 2014 after seeing the need for professionals with a more complete set of skills. Dixon knew her passion for the industry could easily translate into teaching others.

“About 12 years ago, I saw a lack of good education. People weren’t coming to us prepared,” Dixon said. “We would have to train them for six months and spend a lot of time transitioning them to the salon.”

According to Dixon, the process of opening the academy was not a simple endeavor. She faced multiple roadblocks, including a Michigan law restricting the conjoining of salons and beauty schools. Dixon came very close to changing legislation, but in the end, was able to comply with the law and create a unique environment by implementing the glass partition between the salon and academy. Throughout her journey, she was assisted by Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMURC).

“They (CMURC) found great people for me to connect with to get where I needed to be. There were times when I wanted to quit, but they always encouraged me to keep going,” said Dixon.

“With Stephanie, it was never a question of if she would be able to bring her idea to life, it was a matter of how many obstacles she would need to overcome,” said CMURC President and CEO Erin Strang. “She has the drive, determination and passion that can’t be taught.”

For a chance to enroll in the academy’s classes starting June 27, visit www.waterworksacademy.com and fill out an online application.