Skincare brand Dermalogica hosted a graduation event to honor the first class to graduate from its FITE Future Entrepreneur program. Dermalogica, through its nonprofit arm FITE, (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship) launched the program in New York City to create a pathway to entrepreneurship for at-risk young women who aspire to work in the professional skin care industry.
The graduation event, held at the brand’s flagship store in SoHo, welcomed more than 50 guests including friends, family members, program partners and media. Dermalogica co-Founder and Chief Visionary, Jane Wurwand was also in attendance, who spoke to the program participants and shared her own personal journey within the industry.
The graduation event marks the end of the first phase of the program, which was completing undergraduate education at the Dermalogica Academy. The women are now transitioned into the next phase of the program, which includes securing apprenticeships, shadowing experts in the field, and learning valuable retail skills. Additionally, these students are currently studying for the state board licensing exam, taking advanced courses at The International Dermal Institute, and actively interviewing at Dermalogica partner salons and spas in the New York City area.
FITE Future Entrepreneurs program combines the mission of Dermalogica, which is to help bring respect and success to the professional skin therapist, with FITE’s philanthropic commitment to champion and advance women and girl’s economic empowerment.
“For nearly thirty years, Dermalogica has empowered women in the salon industry,” said Wurwand. “The FITE Future Entrepreneurs program is an opportunity to bring a new group of extraordinary young women into the Dermalogica Tribe and train them not just for a job, but for a career.”
In order to be selected for the program, the FITE Future Entrepreneur class participants went through a rigorous application process over the course of several months that included multiple interviews, video segments, and essay questions. After the selection process was completed, 10 “opportunity youth,” young women, between ages 18 to 26, who were out-of-work and out-of-school, were given the opportunity to receive industry education and on-the-job training program over the next year. The scholarship provides vocational education, resources and supplies including a laptop computer, mentorship and business management training, childcare assistance, advanced course study, shadowing and job placement within a salon at the conclusion of the program.
Out of the ten young women selected for the class of 2015, 50% have no college education, with only one woman completing a college degree. Prior to the program, 60% of the women were unemployed, 30% were employed part-time and only one young woman was working full-time. Employment ranged from a minimum wage job at the airport to a cashier at a fast food restaurant. Thirty percent of this year’s program attendees are single mothers.
FITE Future Entrepreneur program partners include the Clinton Global Initiative, where the initiative was initially announced in 2014; Dell, which provided laptops and computer training for the students; banking and finance literacy partner Operation Hope; and ongoing support in social and therapeutic services from non-profit Grace Institute which has trained more the 100,000 underserved women in the New York area.
FITE’s model is scalable and will be rolled out to other cities across the U.S. in 2016, to support young women in developing the skills needed to achieve financial independence and in turn reach their full potential. The global expansion of the program has begun with partnerships supporting vulnerable women in emerging markets such as Cambodia and India, as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia.
FITE Future Entrepreneurs mentorship and coaching aids in building a strong community of likeminded women who support and nurture each other through their goals. The unique program provides not only an education and vocational training, but also gives more women the opportunity to own businesses, thereby changing their own lives and the communities in which they live.
Dermalogica/FITE has partnered with Grace Institute, Dell, Clinton Global Initiative and Operation Hope on this initiative. To learn more, visit www.joinFITE.org/ffe.