Around Kirkwood

Two Programs for the Price of None?

Kirkwood partnership offers GED diploma classes plus welding skills training

For qualified people in eastern Iowa, it is a deal too good to miss. Two deals, in fact. Ten individuals in eastern Iowa could soon be on the path to a catch-up on their education with in-demand skill training to boot.

Kirkwood Community College is launching the Partnership of Academic and Career Education, providing a cohort of students the chance to earn two critical keys to success: a GED diploma and specific training in a skill set sought after by area employers. The PACE program is seeking students who are interested in a welding career and also needing to complete their high school equivalency studies.

The program offers qualified students paid GED instruction and testing fees, paid tuition in a certified welding instruction program, plus incentives as they progress in the program. Kirkwood assistance in transitioning to employment or further education is also part of the PACE program.

High School Completion Programs Director Marcel Kielkucki says such a program “doesn’t come along every day” and believes it addresses many needs in one focused approach.

“We were pretty excited when we saw the potential of this project to meet student needs and address workforce opportunities, too. When we presented this program to some people recently, one parent said, ‘You can get your GED and welding training, too—for free?’ We had to agree, it was a pretty good deal,” Kielkucki said.

Eligible candidates for the PACE program should be currently employed or have a good work history, and be able to commit to an eight-month program with Saturday and Monday evening classes. The training program will also allow participants to earn career readiness certificates that verify skills and knowledge for future employment. Tuition, study materials and testing fees are covered through grant funding. The program is limited to 10 participants per session.

A workshop explaining the program will be held at Jones Hall on the Cedar Rapids Kirkwood campus Monday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. Classes will start Monday, Sept. 20.
More information is available from the Lincoln Learning Center, 319-366-0142; or via e-mail: