Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids is closing two programs, downsizing a third, and laying off 28 full and part-time workers.

Both the dental technology and the energy production and distribution technologies programs were cut due to low enrollment and they will also eliminate the college’s behind-the-wheel portion of its Class A Commercial Driving License program which had 45 students in Fiscal Year 2023.

Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg said these decisions aren’t made easily or quickly. “If it’s been pretty flat for some period of time and there are high costs associated with this it kind of tells us that you know the demand is not as strong,” Sundberg says. Kirkwood closed its Belle Plain and Tipton facilities last year and is consolidating the Johnson County and Iowa City campuses.

The executive director of Community Colleges for Iowa, Emily Shields, says unlike their four-year counterparts, community colleges change their offerings at quicker pace. “Community colleges have to really constantly evaluate their programs and whether they’re responsive to a community’s needs to the region’s industries, and kind of keeping up with the times,” Shields says.

Community Colleges for Iowa promotes Iowa’s 15 community colleges.

(By Zachary Oren Smith, Iowa Public Radio)

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