José Gómez Márquez knows a thing or two about taking risks and starting over. He was born in Peru (the country, not the Indiana town), but it lacked employment opportunities, so he moved from Lima to Miami, Florida in 2003.
Things were better in Miami, but only marginally so. José could get by in Miami with only understanding a little English, but there still weren’t many opportunities for someone who wanted to work in manufacturing. So he worked hard on improving his English while researching small cities in the United States that had a strong plastics manufacturing presence.
José started over yet again in 2005 when he moved to Fort Wayne to work at Mullinix. Eventually he left that company to pursue an opportunity at D&W Fine Pack, and that’s where he discovered Ivy Tech and Next Level Jobs.
To continue advancing at D&W Fine Pack, José knew he needed to continue his education. He was able to get his tuition and fees paid for while attending Ivy Tech Fort Wayne through Next Level Jobs. José completed his certificate in Supply Chain Management and Logistics in fall 2019 with summa cum laude and is continuing his education with an associate degree starting spring 2020.
While at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, José has excelled. One of his most notable accomplishments was winning first place as part of a multi-college team at the Conexus Case Competition in Oct. 2019, where he problem-solved a real-life scenario faced by the Caterpillar corporation.
“The Conexus Competition was an amazing experience! Working on a real case with students from another college was challenging, but definitely enriching,” says José. “The feeling of being the winning team was so exhilarating! I was very nervous because other teams seemed so well-prepared, but thanks to the good experiences that I’ve had with my Ivy Tech instructors, I was right there with them, ready to compete at a high level.”
José has worked hard and was willing to move across the country and across the world to improve his and his family’s lives. He wrote a poem (which won first place in a competition for National Distance Learning Week) that reflects his emotional and educational journey from Peru to Ivy Tech Fort Wayne:
Virtual Reality Becomes Reality
by José Gómez Márquez
Stuck in a dead-end job
no light at the end of the tunnel
aspirations, creativity stifled
a dump truck full of ambition
poured through a small plastic funnel.
My time and my sweat daily wrung from me
hardly a moment, a drop left for my family.
Is this why I left Perú, to live in a snowy city?
Then an ad comes my way, by heavenly algorithm sent
Level up your job with Next Level
See? Your tax dollars are well spent!
I’m nervous, I’m worried
Can I handle work, school, more stress?
My kids push me towards the goal
I say “maybe,” they chorus “yes!”
Distance learning is the key, the internet is my friend
my mind catches fire, though my posture suffers
hours with a book and a laptop I spend.
The pieces fit together, good grades come my way
my confidence rises
I can finally put all my skills into play.
One more challenge arrives
the Conexus contest in logistics and supply chain
I’ll show those punks from West Lafayette
how we do things in Fort Wayne!
My team poses for the photo as we hold the big check
fifteen minutes of fame, a new job and more
courtesy of online Ivy Tech.