Grantee Spotlight


The Grooming Project is the pilot program of Empowering the Parent to Empower the Child (EPEC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Kansas City, MO devoted to helping impoverished parents with many barriers to employment become self-reliant through job training in the high-demand, high-pay trade of pet grooming.   

The Grooming Project’s comprehensive program not only financially empowers parents in poverty through equipping them with credentials in a competitive market, but it also ensures that they focus on improving their family’s future as a whole through parenting and budgeting classes, mental health support, life skills and employment readiness courses, and additional wrap-around services coordinated with many local partner organizations.

We train our students in the art of dog grooming because the pet industry is a burgeoning market that has more than doubled within the last ten years. Skilled groomers are in-demand and can earn an annual full-time salary between $35k-$70k in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Because it is a professional in high demand, individuals with many of the barriers to stable employment – including past addiction, criminal records, and incomplete education – can find employment. Upon completion of our six-month training program, students will have the skills and knowledge necessary to work in one of the area’s 200 pet salons.

The Grooming Project program includes 644 training and classroom hours over 23 weeks. Our students receive individualized attention from our experienced instructors, as well as regular one-on-one meetings with our in-house social worker and case manager. Students also complete three internships in local grooming salons to help them transition from the comfort of our school to the fast-paced environment of a busy salon.

Volunteer mentors meet with students weekly to help with household budgeting, parenting questions, and to show support. Mentors are parents in the community who understand the hardship our students face and encourage success.

Since 2016 we have graduated 42 students. Graduates report increased self-confidence, spending more quality time with their children, taking pride in their new career, and feeling more optimistic about their future.

For more information visit: