Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids is experiencing a surge in the number of students enrolled in its high school completion programs. The school is putting out a call for volunteer tutors to help manage the load.
The overall number of students served by the programs has increased by 4.6 percent in the past year. This includes higher enrollments of those seeking high school equivalency diplomas and ESL students. The director of the programs, Marcel Kielkucki, says most are trying to improve their standing in a strong economy.
“We do have a pretty low unemployment rate, so some of that might be students are coming in saying they want better jobs and they know the only way to get a better job is by finishing up that credential so they can move on to better training opportunities,” he says.
Kielkucki says the students know they need a high school diploma to have any chance.
“We do know we have a good number of students when they come into our program they are unemployed, or if they’re employed, they’re working in an entry level or lower paid position and getting a high school degree or improving English skills will help improve their opportunities for wage advancement and career opportunities,” he says.
Kirkwood is looking for volunteer tutors to help the high school completion program students brush up on basic reading, writing and math. ESL students make up 45 percent of the total number of students in the high school completion programs.