Kirkwood College online offering first “competency-based” program in Iowa

This article was originally published by KWWL on October 15, 2019. Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids started offering online “competency based” classes this fall. The program places a higher value on past and current work experience, allowing students to complete their degrees faster.

“I think it’s helpful for students in the working world to know they aren’t recreating things they’re already doing,” Dave Hunt said, Dean of Distance Learning at Kirkwood.

The Flex Forward program is for students 21 years and older with three years of work experience. Hunt says they have roughly 50 students enrolled in business administration and project management courses right now.

“One student sent us a comment that said, ‘Finally, an institution that’s listening to a working adult.’ And that was a really nice reward for us,” Hunt said.

Hunt says they hope to expand the program into technical careers that people like Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds have identified as a major need as part of her Future Ready Iowa initiative.

“In the future our goal is to expand this into the high demand areas where we know there’s a workforce shortage,” Hunt said.