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Zariyah’s Success:

Persisting with Beauty

I am Zariyah.  Wife and mother of three beautiful children.  Fully employed in a cosmetology career I love.  My job search motto: Never compromise for anything less than you deserve.


Let’s be real.  Losing a job is tough.  The journey back into the workforce isn’t easy, especially during a pandemic.  But with Minnesota Job Partners, you’re not alone.

I was laid off as a cosmetology instructor.  On the last day of 2020, I took my final walk around the Minnesota School of Cosmetology before relinquishing my key cards.  

The Plymouth location was closing permanently due to COVID-19.

Everything was uncertain.  Would I need to start over with a new career?  Scrap the 26 years of passion I had invested in cosmetology?  I figured that I would be at the bottom of the food chain with record unemployment and most businesses shutdown.


Fortunately, I took the advice of a co-worker and called the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  They connected me with my counselor at Minnesota Job Partners – and the hope began.  The enrollment process was easy and the people I spoke with helped me figure out my next move.  No one made any false promises while my application was being processed.  I liked that because the words "promise" or "normal" became obsolete during COVID-19.


While I waited for light to shine – whether red or green – I took free classes and connected with others who, like me, were at square one.  I realized that I made the right choice to stand up for my career.  My situation: I was 43-years old and I felt it was too late to change careers or settle for any job that crossed my path.  So my counselor and I spoke about going back to school for the last certification that would complete my cosmetology license.  I remember getting the phone call approval for the tuition and how the rain of hope trickled down my entire being!  That was another confirmation that I was on the right career path. 


As I navigated through school, I connected well with my counselor, Kate.  She became my cheerleader, mentor, and accountability partner.  Our monthly check-ins and the informational classes I received from her were a comfort, a help, and often a comic relief from the icky world outside.  It was easy to keep her in the loop and share the triumphs and fears as I finalized my program.  My greatest challenges I reported to her and without hesitation she gave me options.  


A month before I graduated, I began applying for jobs again in hopes that there was something out there stable enough to hire me.  I landed three interviews and incidentally landed three job offers.  Excited and panicked all at once, I contacted my counselor for guidance.  She helped me narrow it down to my current dream job: Cosmetology Classroom and Clinic Floor Instructor at the women’s prison in Shakopee.  It’s a full-time state position complete with benefits.  A role that will utilize my teaching skills and grace me with opportunities to lead, write, network with other schools, and develop programs to their full potential.