Careers and clean dogs are the aim of the Engelstad Grooming Academy and Salon, which broke ground on March 4. Joybound CEO Susan Lee Vick was joined by Kris, Sean, and Erin Engelstad and Jane Fielden of the Engelstad Foundation, community leaders, Joybound board members, staff, and supporters in the space that will open its doors to human students and animal clients this spring (stay tuned for exact timing). 

The Engelstad Foundation team and Joybound CEO Susan Lee Vick pose with a litter of adoptable puppies

The Engelstad Grooming Academy & Salon at Joybound will provide vocational training to people facing barriers to employment, including Veterans, survivors of domestic violence, formerly incarcerated individuals, and others, preparing them for well-paying, in-demand jobs in the growing pet-related sector. Academy students will learn by doing as they bathe and groom Joybound’s shelter guests, making them even more irresistibly adoptable. The academy, on track to open before summer, will also offer affordable grooming services to the community.  

The future site of the Engelstad Grooming Academy & Salon at Joybound

The academy will create a win-win-win situation for our community of people and pets. Firstly, it will offer classroom education and hands-on training in the art of dog grooming, not only providing graduates with essential skills, but also opening doors to a tangible pathway to stable, well-paying jobs within the thriving $5.3 billion pet grooming industry. By addressing the shortage of skilled groomers, the academy meets a pressing need while offering vital support to Veterans and other members of our community confronting economic challenges.

Secondly, grooming and bathing are vital aspects of animal health that directly contribute to increased shelter adoption rates. Regular grooming is crucial for dogs as it helps maintain their coats, nails, and ears. Through firsthand observation, we have witnessed how dogs undergo remarkable transformations after grooming sessions, emerging revitalized and relieved of the discomfort caused by matted fur and overgrown nails. 

Thirdly, students at the academy will have the opportunity to give back to the community by grooming shelter dogs and providing services to underserved areas, thus strengthening the bond between people and pets and ensuring that families can remain together. This dual focus on education and community service underscores our commitment to positively impacting both individuals and the wider community. 

Bernadette Machado and her daughter, Barbara, pose with an adoptable puppy

Bernadette “Bernie” Machado will lead the academy as director of Grooming Academy and Salon Services. As founder and CEO of City Dogs, a successful dog grooming salon launched in 2011 in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, Bernie has over 30 years of experience in both animal grooming and handling, as well as staff training and development. Bernie is deeply committed to community service and advancing animal welfare. For 16 years she groomed shelter dogs at San Francisco Animal Care and Control and providing discounted services to Bay Area clients with limited means. Currently, Bernie is mentoring and training the next generation of exceptional groomers – young people facing economic and systemic barriers to opportunity – in collaboration with the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) in San Francisco and Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island.  

Stay tuned for updates on the Engelstad Grooming Academy & Salon at Joybound!  

Posted: 3/12/24

Last updated: 3/12/24

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