Owning a salon in Twinsburg since 2001, with 30 years’ experience as a stylist and now a member of the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology, I recognize the challenges in finding talented, hard-working cosmetologists to train and staff my business.

What I do see are today’s repetitive educational regulations for students attending private cosmetology schools, as well as the burdensome requirements for cosmetologists wishing to obtain a license in Ohio when they move here from another state. These conditions don’t help stylists successfully continue a career filled with employment opportunities.

Notably, students at private cosmetology schools must complete 1,500 hours of training before sitting for a cosmetology licensing exam, while the hours obtained for a vocational school stylist are around 1,000.

And my biggest interest in the cosmetology industry today is helping to create license reciprocity, or license endorsement, between states. Ohio’s current laws make that difficult.

Fortunately, House Bill 189 and Senate Bill 129 are in the Ohio legislature, and if passed would reduce repetitive educational training and licensing requirements for those who want to work in the cosmetology industry. These bills are a practical approach to growing the state’s job market and getting qualified people to work in strong, in-demand careers.

The bills would reduce the required training hours to 1,000 for all cosmetology schools, ensuring students complete these programs more quickly and with less student debt. Further, the bills would allow schooling and work hours in other states to count toward licensing in Ohio, and move Ohio to a standard national cosmetology exam.

These changes would create reciprocity, allowing out-of-state cosmetologists to quickly get licensed and working in Ohio when they move.

I have personal experience in this regard. My daughter attended cosmetology school in Utah and passed a licensing exam there with flying colors in 2012. When she returned to Ohio — because there is no reciprocity — it took two months and retaking the test in Ohio before she could receive her license and begin working here.

These proposed changes make sense. Again, those trained in public vocational centers currently receive around 1,000 hours of cosmetology-specific training, and the same two cosmetology manuals used across all schools in the country are based on a 1,000-hour program. I also understand it is my job as an employer to provide on-the-job extended education to my employees to further their skills. The knowledge I’ve gained over my career is more valuable as I share it, and my goal for each of my stylists is to set them up for success.

Finally, we need to get students into the workforce faster to help them develop the necessary skills. Both of these bills help to do that with provisions to allow apprenticeships. In that way, students can gain education toward receiving their license on the job while earning a wage.

I’m extremely excited to teach these apprentice employees in my own salon under my mentoring. Right now, when students attend school, they perform services and do not get paid. Loan debt in our country has become burdensome, and many times is not repaid by a student. These loans eventually default to the schools and then put the schools in a financial situation where they lose their funding and must close. There are seven more schools slated to close soon due to these circumstances.

The need for these changes is highlighted by the fact that the employment of barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists is projected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations through 2026. And these bills have been supported by private and public schools of cosmetology, salon owners and licensees, and groups such as the Ohio Salon Association, the Institute for Justice, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Buckeye Institute.

H.B. 189 and S.B. 129 also ensure that safety and sanitation are kept in the highest regard, both in holding salons accountable and in maintaining the education standards for safety and health within those 1,000 hours.

With these common sense regulations, we can prepare the next generation of talented cosmetologists and get Ohioans into their desired careers quickly, safely and with much success. The salon industry needs these changes, and our customers, as well as the state’s workforce, will benefit from additional hard-working, ambitious stylists.

I urge members of the Ohio legislature to pass H.B. 189 and S.B. 129 now.

Yeager is the owner of the Studio Wish Salon in Twinsburg.