"I decided I wanted to make money in this business, and I wanted to work for myself."
Alonso Meza could have been just another good employee for someone else, but instead he has designed a profitable career for himself as an entrepreneur and printer.
The Mexico-born Alonso came to the United States eight years ago with dreams of making a better life for himself and his family. He had a talent for graphics and a desire to generate new ideas for companies, and perhaps one day even run his own company. He needed only training and education to get started.
Alonso first attended Centre City Center, where he earned his high school diploma. Having completed English as a second language classes at the Educational Cultural Complex, Alonso moved on to office systems classes at Cesar Chavez Center, and soon became student body president.
Alonso taught himself clip art, mastered print programs in office systems, produced a newsletter at Centre City Center and went to work as an intern at Hillcrest Copy Station.
"I really love the work I do, and the challenge of graphics," Alonso says.
In August 2000, the 29-year-old Alonso and a friend opened Digital 2000+ in Old Town, where they print all types of products for businesses.
"When we first opened it was slow, then the business started coming," Alonso says. "Now we have major accounts that keep us busy all year." He recently opened a branch of the new business in Tijuana, where he is working on cultivating local business clients.
Alonso says he received inspiration from his teachers. "They encouraged me to try, and taught me that if one way doesn't work, try another," he says.
Alonso encourages others who need assistance in English and business skills to consider the route he took.
"Using the college district's services allows students to assimilate American culture, learn the American way of business and shape up skills," Alonso says. "I tell my friends that you don't need a high income to get started. The training will help take you there."
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