Program Spotlight – Human Resource Management

posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 in  College News

ABOVE: Bryanna McFarland, a 2015 graduate of the Human Resource Management program, stands outside Richelieu Foods, Inc., in Grundy Center. McFarland has worked as an HR generalist for Richelieu since 2016.

Human resources can mean a lot of things in an organization. It’s recruiting, hiring, and training employees. It’s creating pay scales and managing budgets and benefits. It’s conflict resolution and labor relations. Above all, it’s working with people. That’s a responsibility Bryanna McFarland takes to heart.

“I enjoy getting to greet new employees for orientation and welcome them to a new chapter in their lives,” said McFarland, the HR generalist for Richelieu Foods in Grundy Center. “I enjoy getting to talk to employees and getting to know them.”

McFarland graduated from Hawkeye Community College in 2015 with an associate degree in Human Resource Management. She began working at Richelieu Foods while still a student, moving into the HR generalist role in 2016.

The Human Resource Management program prepares students for entry-level positions in the human resource field, with knowledge and skills in basic accounting, business and labor law, management, interviewing, compensation and benefits, labor relations, and more.

Karen Reynolds, Human Resource Management program advisor, draws on her years of experience in management, recruitment, and training to translate classroom concepts into real-world scenarios. For McFarland, those personal connections helped her feel as though she was
on the right career path.

“The teachers are very personable,” McFarland said. “They truly want to see their students succeed, and they share their experiences from their careers.”

Students also gain 192 hours of real-world experience through internships with area businesses.

“This has been a huge benefit and opens doors for students,” Reynolds said. “Not only do they gain knowledge and confidence, but about half of our students get full-time job offers from their internships.”

Reynolds also connects students with the Cedar Valley Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), helping them build professional relationships that will last into their careers.

“We were able to learn very real topics from individuals fairly established in
the field,” McFarland said.

The Human Resource Management program offers evening classes, as well as an expanding list of online options. The associate degree also transfers to the Human Resource Management bachelor’s degree program at Upper Iowa University.

McFarland started the Upper Iowa program in 2017, transferring 80 credits from Hawkeye to apply toward a Bachelor of Science degree. She graduated magna cum laude in May of this year.

“Some of our students take a little time off after the two-year degree to work, but many go right on to the bachelor’s degree,” Reynolds said. “I love that they have this flexibility.”

For more information about the Human Resource Management program at Hawkeye Community College, call 319-296-4000 or visit


  1. Alumni Profile
  2. Connect Magazine
  3. Human Resource Management
  4. Richelieu Foods
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