IWU 2021 Grad Testimony: Jose Moreno

Jose Moreno wears many hats in his community in Portage, Indiana. He serves as the President of Portage LIVE!, founder of Latino NOW, and a President of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

By: Miriam Bird & Jake Hreha

Jose Moreno wears many hats in his community in Portage, Indiana. He serves as the President of Portage LIVE!, founder of Latino NOW, and a President of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is also a father of four, husband to his high school sweetheart, a freelance consultant, and a recent IWU graduate.

In all of his roles, he advocates for education, and his experience is a testimony of how education can impact your personal and professional life. This past spring, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and he shared his experience at IWU and how he has been able to impact his community at home.

High school graduates have many options after graduation like Moreno did. Some pursue college degrees while others look for job opportunities. If college education is the path you choose there are many bachelor's degree programs to pick from. Bachelor's degrees cover many different fields and industries.

Not only do you gain knowledge and skills, employers often look for bachelor's degree holders to fill their positions. College graduates who earn a bachelor's degree will also be able to pursue further education. Whether you are earning a bachelor's degree, looking to start a master's degree program, or are ready to pursue career opportunities there is a place for you.

Q: What motivated you to return to school and pursue a bachelor’s degree? 

Jose: I heard of IWU back in 2000 and also through several friends who were alumni. Once I started getting into the workforce, I did have my associate’s degree. I kept thinking about returning to school, but I never saw the opportunity because I couldn’t commit to going to a university facility to attend classes during the day. I also wanted classes to fit around my schedule and needs. When my kids were in high school, I thought, “If I don’t go back to school now, I probably won’t have a chance until another eight years or more. So if I’m going to do it, it’s going to be now rather than later.” Once I started, I loved it, and I actually kind of miss school.

Q: How has your college degree impacted your career experience and future aspirations?

Jose: While earning my degree, I was able to connect the dots of what I was learning to the work that I was already doing. I have grown in confidence that I can now “talk the talk” in business, and now I can step up and reach for higher management positions. Combined with my experience and my degree, the work that I am doing makes more sense.

Q: How has the importance of education changed for you throughout the years?

Jose: I was born in Mexico, and when my family came to America, both my parents worked. We didn’t think much about education, and after I graduated high school, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do, so my mom offered for me to return to school to earn my associate's or start working. I struggled because we weren’t taught about school since our parents didn’t also have that experience. We didn’t understand the dynamics of what to do when you’re a college graduate.

Now, with our four kids, we say, “If you want to do something, you need to go to school and pursue education beyond a high school diploma.” I tell my kids that now they have two parents who are educated, and for me, it's part of the American dream. You come, work, get educated, and do something with your degree. There are challenges in the workforce when you don’t have a degree. You can work, but you’ll have to work harder to get somewhere. With a degree, there’s a difference and opportunities to move forward.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about applying to a bachelor's degree program? 

Jose: First of all, it’s definitely not as hard as it looks. I was fifty with a household of kids and other commitments, and I was able to find time and strategies that worked for me to balance family, school, and other commitments.

Also, don’t stop where you’re at, and go for the next degree. You can find ways to keep learning, and try enrolling now rather than later because time will catch up with you.

Miriam Bird

Copywriting Assistant, IWU-National and Global

Miriam Bird assists with content development for IWU–National and Global, capturing student stories and journeys. She is currently a student at IWU–Marion, studying elementary education.

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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