Career TEAM, and our state-of-the-art portal, Career EDGE, are dedicated to changing lives and producing superior employment outcomes.
Career TEAM provides innovative solutions to complex social challenges such as closing the opportunity divide, reducing unemployment and eradicating poverty.
Career TEAM, like every successful entity, has a unique and compelling story….
In 1985, twenty-one year old college senior Chris Kuselias was standing in center field in Fenway Park in Boston; having been selected to play in a prestigious collegiate baseball All-Star game. For Chris, playing on the same field as his beloved Boston Red Sox was surreal. As the final out of the game signaled it was time to join his teammates and celebrate, but Chris was physically and emotionally frozen. Earlier, Chris’ name had not been called during the Major League Baseball Amateur draft and the dream of playing professional baseball since the age of six was suddenly and swiftly over; the reality of having to grow up and get a job became all too real in that moment in Boston.
Without a clear direction after graduation, Chris obtained an entry-level corporate marketing job in New Haven, CT, where he won several sales awards and was even featured in the Annual Report to shareholders. “Successfully unfulfilled”, he crammed for the LSAT and began law school in the evenings. While intellectually challenging, something was missing…
Anxious and frustrated, Chris immersed himself in every available resource on the subject of career planning; and concluded many felt the same way. Soon thereafter, Chris was asked by his former University of Connecticut college coach to guest speak to the baseball team, many whom were scared and uncertain about the transition from student to career professional. The University Athletic Director also attended the speech and subsequently contracted Chris to speak to all UCONN men’s and woman’s athletic teams. Chris felt a rush and began authoring a business plan designed to provide career coaching and reduce student loan default.
In 1988, Chris formally acted on his business plan and opened a modest 250 square foot office over a Chinese take-out in Wallingford, CT. He began career coaching while the ever present scent of Moo Goo Gia Pan permeated the office. During this period, Chris authored an audio based career course and trademarked the name, “The Career Coach.” He began consulting with schools and colleges who began implementing his content into their professional development offerings.
In 1990, while trying to manage a corporate marketing job, law school in the evenings and an evolving career coaching enterprise, Chris learned his father. Michael, was diagnosed with late stage esophageal cancer. Chris immediately took a leave from law school and after determining traditional medicine offered no cure, he and his family spent the next two years transporting his ailing father back and forth to Toronto, Canada for radical therapy. This form of treatment was not covered by insurance and with three younger siblings, drained financial resources. His dad miraculously recovered from what was described by modern medicine as terminal cancer.
During one of these emotional treatment trips to Toronto, Chris reassessed his life and decided to resign from his corporate job, quit law school and dedicate his career to assisting others find purpose and passion. Something was missing…
In 1992, Chris formed Kuselias Enterprises Inc. and branded his motivational, audio-based student success course, “The Career Coach”. His sole proprietorship quickly grew to contracts with 15 schools and colleges serving thousands of students. Chris was helping students get jobs faster, pay back their loans and the future looked bright.
In 1993, while in the process of expanding Kuselias Enterprises, Inc, Chris was diagnosed with a suspicious growth on his spine. Due to the location of the spinal tumor, medical specialists shared a significant chance of paralysis after emergency surgery, which lasted 14 hours and resulted in a week in Intensive Care. Upon discharge from the hospital, Chris would spend the next year in physical rehabilitation recovering from surgery, which resulted in spine instability, the loss of three ribs and some permanent nerve damage. Unable to support his customers, as a sole-proprietor, his successful start-up company collapsed.
1n 1994, while recovering both physically and emotionally, a friend at UBS Financial in Hartford, CT suggested Chris’ growing career expertise could be valuable in assisting his brokerage clients who had been laid off from corporations like Aetna, Pratt Whitney, Electric Boat and others. Chris began coaching dislocated workers and while in the process of sharing career advice, decided to get certified as a licensed financial professional. Chris enjoyed assisting dislocated workers and their families plan for their futures, but something was missing…
In 1996, Congress and the Clinton Administration unveiled the Welfare Reform Act, which eradicated more than 60 years of welfare entitlements. States were suddenly provided with a fixed term limit and asked to transition large groups of public assistance recipients into gainful employment. The threat of millions of welfare recipients exhausting their time limit without a job became a national concern.
That same year, Chris was contacted by an educational institution in Bridgeport, Connecticut to assist them with job placement performance by creating a better career services culture and job search curriculum. During the initial meeting, Susan Peterson, the Admissions Director for the school, stopped in to share her ideas. After sharing views on social challenges and unemployment, the two agreed to meet for lunch. With a strong personal and professional connection, the ambitious pair took a major risk, left their respective jobs, invested every dime of their savings and decided to form a new company.
Chris and Sue “teamed up” to launch Career TEAM, LLC with a passionate vision to assist hard-to-serve populations in a unique and compelling way. From the outset, the Career TEAM unique value proposition was simple: to create a career coaching program where 80% focused on the psychology of success (mindset, confidence, critical reflection, assessment) while 20% was based on the mechanics of success (resume, online profile, interviewing, etc.).
Pooling their respective talents in fund raising, education and career coaching, the duo began modestly with a pilot program to serve 12 welfare clients; funded by the Department of Social Services in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was an instant success in which Sue recruited and determined eligibility, Chris created the curriculum and taught the class and both placed attendees in the evening; often driving them to interviews in their car. Expansion came swiftly as Career TEAM was rewarded in Connecticut with government funded contracts in New Haven, Hartford, New London and Waterbury. Over the next three years, staff grew to 100+ as the number of candidates served expanded.
Due to their innovative approaches and documented success in Connecticut, Career TEAM attracted the attention of New Haven based Congresswoman Rosa Delauro (D-CT), a strong advocate for eradicating poverty. After an exhaustive federal screening process, Chris and Sue were invited to the White House to meet with then President Clinton and a select group of consultants and employers to launch welfare reform and share best practices on the challenge of creating self-sufficiency for millions of Americans. The initiative would be called the National Welfare to Work Partnership.
As a result of their contributions and this publicity, the couple was profiled in a 15-minute segment on CNN for their innovation and outcomes in workforce development. Career TEAM quickly began to develop a national reputation as experts in transitioning hard-to-serve populations into gainful employment.
Over the next decade, the company began national expansion winning government awards in Miami, Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Rochester, Boston and Springfield; serving over 50,000 publicly funded job seekers. The company grew to over 200 employees and continued to generate national publicity.
The size of the Kuselias family also grew as Chris and Sue welcomed Alana (born 1999), son CJ born (2000) and Olivia (born 2004) to the world. Sue would transition out of her full time company activities to focus on the development of the family.
During this period, Career TEAM received the US Chamber of Commerce Blue Chip Enterprise Award for Innovation, was named as one of INC Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies and was profiled in numerous media sources including ABC, NBC, and Fox News.
In 2009, Chris authored his highly anticipated book, The Career Guarantee, which summarized his 20+ years as a nationally recognized career coach. While the national book tour generated positive reviews and large booksellers including Barnes & Noble featured the book, the question remained if the online focused public would read a 469-page book to realize the full value of the career advice. A new era had begun as education morphed into virtual learning and mobile accessible content. Something was missing…
As a result, in 2010, Chris launched a new consultancy group, Career EDGE, LLC (EDGE), to blend evolving technology with career guidance. Many in government and education experienced declining performance outcomes, increased student loan defaults and a growing technology divide with hiring authorities. Lack of sufficient access to technology (“band width”) and social media challenges for schools and government remained a paramount concern. Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen X candidates had different learning styles and technology proficiency.
A new Chief Innovation Officer, Harrison Tonne. was tasked to convert print content into an online EDGE menu of services to address these issues while new Chief Administrative Officer, Danielle Simone, was appointed to oversee content, edit and monitor progress. The primary offering became a competency based, career learning management system (Career EDGE) adopted by numerous schools and universities as their new Student Success course; while government agencies began offering EDGE access to their clients through a smart phone or computer lab. EDGE also launched a staff capacity building portal, which provided professional development in the form of video-based coaching and guidance modules.
In 2012, Chris and Career TEAM were featured in a CBS 60 Minutes segment seen by 18 million viewers. The segment focused on the alarming trend of millions of Americans who had exhausted their unemployment benefits without finding work. The Career EDGE was depicted as a viable tool based on a piloted group of 100 long-term unemployed Americans filmed by 60 Minutes; 75% of whom had found work after using the EDGE. Since then, Platform to Employment (P2E), funded by The Workplace Inc., has expanded in a 25 city national roll-out led by EDGE content.
In 2013, the US Department of Labor announced a $150 million grant to serve Long Term Unemployed of which EDGE content became a fixture.
In 2014, CTL and EDGE continued to aggressively partner with education and government entities in need of building more robust performance based, career cultures. The company became the exclusive distribution partner for the highly effective personality type test, Do What You Are!; an online assessment which linked natural candidate tendencies to specific career paths. Career TEAM partnered with the Connecticut Department of Labor who has since begun funding statewide usage of this exciting tool.
In 2015, CTL continued its evolution to a nationally recognized social initiative based consultant group. Leadership expanded its reach by establishing strategic partnerships with respected entities like McKinsey & Company and infusing professional development coaching into prevention and substance abuse centers.
That same year, Micaela Alpers, former National Sales Manager for McGraw-Hill, joined the company as President of EDGE Education Services and established Education Headquarters in San Diego, California. With an initial focus is on the Department of Education’s shift toward the gainful employment of graduates, Micaela’s decade of experience in higher education, coaching, and career development provides a unique vantage point to implement complex institutional solutions that provide significant return on investment for students and school partners.
EDGE candidate usage quickly grew to 100,000+ active users while EDGE staff usage expanded to 10,000+ active staff users from institutions like The University of Connecticut, Lincoln Technical Institute and Delta University. From a product standpoint, EDGE continued an aggressive expansion on its menu of services of 18 unique modules and unique career management tools including Personality Type Testing, Resume Builder, Online Profile and Mock Job Application.
Career TEAM, now a leading national content provider, began morphing into a technology resource for government and education; integrating its proprietary platform with other nationally respected platforms like Blackboard, Moodle, etc. Something was missing…
In 2016, in addition to developing on demand learning modules for youth and adult populations, the company began authoring customized on-line deliverables for special needs populations. Career TEAM, in partnership with Cross Sector Consulting, contracted with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addition Services (DMHAS) to create a Training & Technical Service Center (TTASC) to increase prevention efforts, strengthen staff member expertise and improve the quality & relevance of the field of prevention. This included a new LMS digital system for accessing prevention content and documenting training participation. Career TEAM took the lead on website development and the creation of a technology platform to access training related content and custom content conversion.
Later that year, Career Team engaged the services of veteran public safety net administrator, Clarence H. Carter to serve Government Programs for the Company. Carter brought a 20+ year history of experience in managing large and complex government safety net programs and agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government to Career TEAM, having served a President, four governors and a Mayor in cabinet and sub-cabinet appointments. Before taking a role in the current administration, Carter assisted in the effort to apply the technology, innovation and heart for service of Career TEAM to assist public safety net agencies and community based organizations in growing the capacity of diverse economically, socially and developmentally vulnerable populations.
In 2017, EDGE continued to build its reputation as a national technology leader and is pioneering the use of Virtual Reality-VR in career coaching. As VR continues to be one of fastest growing technologies being utilized in nearly every industry, Career TEAM has made the investment to convert their training materials into this new exciting delivery model. This new VR platform will be used to assist candidates overcome the fear of interviewing by creating a real life virtual customer service experience in a full 360-degree immersion.
The firm has also begun creating custom Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) solutions for government partners including Michigan Works, Delaware Department of Labor, Regional Boards in Framingham, MA and Community Action Agencies like Human Resources Agency of New Britain, CT.
In 2018, Career TEAM continued to introduce game changing content offerings with the addition of new coaching modules and releasing a new edition of their best-selling, Career EDGE Professional Development curriculum. This new online version and companion Career Edge Learning Management System was purchased by the Washington DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) to serve 15,000 summer youth over 800 work sites. The nationally recognized Platform to Employment (P2E) program also received a digital overhaul and is converted into an online course. This allowed all current, in-class participants to receive extra assistance but also allow a more cost effective P2E model for mass consumption.
In 2019, Career TEAM was awarded its single largest contract ever, a $20M American Job Center management project by the East Texas Council of Governments. The company also launched the revolutionary Interview
Looking ahead, Career TEAM will continue serving all types of job seekers and employers using the best processes, content and technology tools in order to continue Accelerating the Human Condition…
Something is still missing…the story continues…