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  • Good News

Flexible program provides path to career – and advancement

Stacie Kleifgen

Gateway’s solid, online and flexible On-Demand Accounting program provided the means for Stacie Kleifgen to advance her career and gain a promotion before she even graduated. The Wisconsin Rapids resident earned her degree entirely online.

Stacie Kleifgen chose Gateway to advance her career and gain a promotion.

Gateway’s solid, online and flexible On-Demand Accounting program allowed her to achieve both goals – even before she completed the degree, and even though she’s never stepped foot on campus.

The Wisconsin Rapids-area resident is earning her Accounting degree entirely online, allowing her to receive a promotion and pay raise at her current employer, a central Wisconsin school district. Officials there encouraged her to obtain a degree which would give her the skills and qualifications for advancement – and then promoted her after she showed enough progress before her Summer 2014 graduation.

“I love my job. I love what I do. I could not have done it without my Gateway degree,” says Stacie. “I’m not just punching a clock – it’s a career.”

Stacie was a stay-at-home mom until the older two of her four children began middle school. She was working as a middle school and high school secretary when she was informed of an accounting position that was to open in the near future. “The district asked me if I was interested,” says Stacie.

She knew she didn’t have the skills and degree, but also knew that she didn’t have time for the traditional college course schedule – she was working full time, and raising four children under age 13. An instructor at a nearby technical college suggested On-Demand Accounting at Gateway would fit her needs – students can start their coursework within a couple weeks of enrolling, no matter what month of the year it is, and earn a degree within about a year if they work hard enough.

“What attracted me is that I could do much of my work at night and during semester and summer breaks with my school district job,” says Stacie. “That is why I chose a college so far from my home. Gateway was the only college where I could do that.”

She took 18 credits her first semester and 20 the second and continued on a similar pace. Barely a year into her studies, she was promoted – in position and pay. “I am the office manager for the school district – I do accounts receivable and payable,” she says.

Gateway prepared her well for her new position, she says. Even though the coursework was 100 percent online, Stacie says she never felt disconnected from instructors or fellow students.

“There was something to fit every learning style,” she says. “You could watch a lecture on the lesson, then you could view a Power Point, watch another video on it, practice problems online, and if you needed them, instructors were readily available to answer questions.

“I really loved that about the program.”

Stacie could also work ahead on her coursework, if she had the time. “I liked that feeling of being able to work at my own pace,” she says. “And what I was learning, I was already doing at my job. The concepts and skills I learned were really sinking in.”

Not once did she feel left out. “I tell the kids in my area that you can get a degree online. You don’t have to physically go to the campus. If the college gives you the training you need, then it should be an option. I haven’t been on a Gateway campus, ever – everything was 100 percent online. And I love it.”