“When I was in high school at Huntington North, I was not a very good student,” says Joshua Burkhardt, a 29-year-old sales manager at Pathfinder Services. “That, combined with working half days at Wal-Mart, made me extremely unmotivated to expand my education.”
When it comes to furthering his education, Burkhardt is singing a different tune these days. He is currently enrolled at Huntington University to receive his associate’s degree in organizational management, and then his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing, both through the university’s adult degree programs.
Huntington’s program is for adults in the community who have not gone to college, or who have few college credits and would like to finish their degree.
Burkhardt moved from Wabash, Ohio, to Huntington, Ind., with his family in December of 1999.
“We moved to Huntington because it was a small town outside of a larger city,” he says. “A great improvement from where we were in Ohio.”
After graduating from Huntington North High School in 2001, Burkhardt went straight into the workforce, moving through several dead-end jobs in factories around town. He began his first “real” job when he was 21, working as a welder on bulk refinery tanks.
Burkhardt landed his next job at Pace Chevrolet.
“This is where I learned about business—money, finance and people in general,” he says.
While Burkhardt was working at Pace, his wife enrolled him in Huntington’s program.
“It was unexpected, but a blessing in the long run,” he says.
Burkhardt has seen the positive effect of his education on his career, and appreciates the timing of his classes and the allowance to learn at his own pace.
“I intend to improve greatly because of my college experience,” he says. “This inspires a new style of thinking and understanding.”
Burkhardt is challenging himself to not only further himself educationally, but to become a better person through the program.
“The ability to self-improve gives you more value in the market place,” he says. “This value increases wages and your ability to secure more demanding positions.”
The most challenging aspect of going back to school for Burkhardt has been managing work, homework and his new marriage, as well as other close relationships in his life. But even with all of these competing responsibilities, Burkhardt says it is extremely rewarding to know that he is continuing to develop as an individual.
Burkhardt has three years until he finishes his bachelor’s, but he is already looking ahead, toward pursuing a master’s degree in the future.