Bridging the Gap Between School and Work

Dave Hagemeier in front of Cost Cutters photo

Dave Hagemeier in front of his Cost Cutters salon in West Milwaukee

Externships Connect College and Local Barber/Cosmetology Employers

For more than 20 years, MATC’s Barber and Cosmetology programs have required an externship. These programs recognize the critical importance of real-life experience and require students to extend their on-campus learning to work sites, providing a high-quality education and meeting employers’ needs.

Instructor Megan Jackson, herself an MATC alumna, was in the first cohort of Cosmetology students to complete an externship and now sees the value as an instructor. “The externship bridges the gap between school and the barbershop or salon, giving the students a taste of ‘real life,’” she explained.

Jackson has significant industry experience and maintains strong industry connections to help students understand the realities of work. She has served on the Cosmetology Examining Board of the State of Wisconsin since 2019.

Employers, in turn, are getting a glimpse of students who could become their future employees. Dave Hagemeier, president of Signature Two Company, welcomes students for externships and has several MATC graduates on staff at nine local Supercuts and Cost Cutters salons.


“We work with all the local cosmetology schools and MATC is unique in the externship. ...The students coming out of MATC are solid.”

Dave Hagemeier President of Signature Two Company

“Hands-on learning and real-life exposure are very important. We work with all the local cosmetology schools and MATC is unique in the externship. It helps students gain real-world experience and make much better career choices coming out of school,” said Hagemeier.

Employment prospects for licensed barbers are excellent. Many barbers are self-employed and they either own their business or lease booth space in a salon or barbershop. Employment prospects for cosmetologists are also excellent; in fact, a recent survey of graduates reported 100% job placement within six months of graduation.

Barbers and cosmetologists remain lifelong learners. For example, Signature Two Company stylists can participate in over 40 paid, hands-on technical training programs every year.

“The Wisconsin technical schools are grounded in reality. They provide outstanding programs. The instructors bring a lot of passion. The students coming out of MATC are solid,” said Hagemeier.

To learn more about MATC’s Barber, Cosmetology and Aesthetician programs, visit