Jean Norris, Norton Norris in Mokena Illinois

As one of six children growing up in a small town, my parents weren’t able to afford the expense of college. Neither of my parents completed high school and even my school counselor pushed us to just get a job – so I did. By most people’s standards you could say I had it made at the age of 19. I had a well paying, full-time job; my own apartment; a sporty car; and money in the bank. What I didn’t have though, was a way to fulfill my dreams. I wanted a career helping people and it sure wasn’t going to happen in my accounting job.

A career college was the clear choice for me since I wanted to get the necessary training as quickly as possible and start working. So, I quit my job, moved out of my apartment, and sold my car. I also took out loans and worked on campus to make ends meet.

Although I was an average student in high school, I excelled in my new environment. I was doing what I loved and the faculty and staff supported me like a family. My ten months of school provided me with the skills to become a certified medical assistant and grow as a person.

My family and friends thought I was crazy when my first job out of college paid less than I was making before college. However, it didn’t take long before my new wages exceeded my former salary. In fact, the company I had worked for previously closed and my former colleagues were left scrambling to find work.

To this day, I credit my start at a career college to be the wisest investment of my life. This foundation provided me with the confidence to continue my education and pursue my dreams. And now, nearly 20 years later, I have a doctoral degree. I am honored to serve those working and attending career colleges. Thanks to all of you for giving me such a wonderful educational choice!

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