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 has a unique and compelling story. Ours is a tale of a socially conscious owner who had a desire to help all Americans find peace and prosperity at work…but who initially had no idea how to do that.
In 1984, twenty-one year old UCONN Senior Chris Kuselias was playing center field in Fenway Park in Boston; having been selected to play in a prestigious D-1 collegiate baseball All-Star game. For Chris, playing on the same field as his beloved Boston Red Sox was surreal. When the game ended, 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 over; the reality of having to 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 began law school in the evenings. Frustrated and confused as to why he felt unhappy at work, Chris immersed himself in every available resource on the subject of career planning. Soon thereafter, Chris was asked by his former UCONN college baseball coach to guest speak to the team, many of whom were scared and uncertain about the transition from student to career professional. The University Athletic Director also attended the speech and was so impressed, he subsequently contracted Chris to speak to all UCONN athletic teams. Chris felt a rush of purpose and began authoring a business plan designed to provide career coaching and reduce student loan default.
In 1988, Chris opened a modest 250 square foot office over a Chinese take-out in Wallingford, CT. He began one-on-one career coaching after his corporate day job while the ever present scent of Moo Goo Gia Pan permeated the office. Chris authored his ideas in an audio based career course and trademarked the name, “The Career Coach.” He began consulting with schools and colleges who began implementing his unique audio/workbook 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 their financial resources. His dad miraculously recovered from what was described by modern medicine as terminal cancer. During one of these emotional cancer treatment trips to Toronto, Chris reassessed his life and decided to (Go For It!) resign from his corporate job, quit law school…and dedicate his career to assisting others find purpose and passion.
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 over 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 removal of three ribs and some permanent nerve damage. Unable to support his customers, as a sole-proprietor, his successful start-up company disbanded.
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 corporate 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 an immediate personal and professional connection, the ambitious pair soon left their respective jobs, invested every dime of their savings and decided to form a new social impact company.
Chris and Sue were married and “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 fundraising, education and career coaching, the duo began modestly with a pilot program to serve 12 welfare clients; funded by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. It was an instant (75 hour per week!) 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 Bridgeport, 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 success in Connecticut, Career TEAM attracted the attention of New Haven based Congresswoman Rosa Delauro (D-CT), a strong advocate for eradicating poverty. 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 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. 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.
From 1997-2008, Career TEAM began national expansion winning government awards in Miami, Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New Haven, Wilmington, Rochester, Boston and Springfield; serving over 50,000 publicly funded job seekers. The company grew to over 250 employees and continued to generate national publicity. The size of the Kuselias family also grew as Chris and Sue welcomed daughter 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.
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.
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 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. Chris accepted an adjunct faculty role at Quinnipiac University and taught a successful semester long career readiness course to 200+ students featuring the new content from his book.
Based on this success, 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 LMS) adopted by numerous schools and universities as their new Student Success course; while government agencies began offering EDGE access to their clients through mobile 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 contracted by The Workplace Inc/Platform to Employment (P2E) to create a Career EDGE curriculum which focused on the alarming trend of millions of Americans who had exhausted their unemployment benefits without finding work. So successful, the project was featured in a CBS 60 Minutes segment and seen by 18 million viewers. 60 Minutes depicted Career EDGE as a viable solution and for 6 weeks followed a piloted group of 100 long-term unemployed Americans; 75% of whom had found work after using the EDGE. In 2013, the US Department of Labor announced a $150 million grant to serve Long Term Unemployed and P2E expanded to 25 cities; Career EDGE had become a nationally recognized LMS.
In 2014, the company continued to aggressively partner with education and government entities in need of building more robust performance based, career cultures. Career TEAM 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.
In 2015, 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 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 LMS candidate usage quickly grew to 200,000+ 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 unique modules and career management tools including Candidate Assessment, Resume Builder, Online Profile, Interview Simulation and Mock Job Application. Career TEAM, already a respected national content provider, began morphing into a full service SaaS resource for government and education; integrating its proprietary platform with other nationally respected platforms like Blackboard, Moodle, etc.
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 & Addiction 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.
In 2017, EDGE continued to build its reputation as a national technology leader and pioneered the use of Virtual Reality-VR in career coaching. As VR continues to be 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 assists candidates to overcome the fear of interviewing by creating a real life virtual customer service experience in a full 360-degree immersion.
Career TEAM continued to introduce game changing content offerings with the addition of new coaching modules and released 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 700 work sites. The nationally recognized Platform to Employment (P2E) program also received a digital overhaul and converted into an online course. The firm also expanded its technology menu and created custom Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) solutions for government partners including Michigan Works, Delaware Department of Labor, Regional Workforce Boards and Community Action Agencies.
In 2018, Anthony Terlizzi, former Project Leader for Rescare in New York and veteran of workforce excellence, joined the company as President of Government Direct Services. The company launched its revolutionary affiliate site model for WIOA funded government awards, which allowed traditional brick and mortar offices to now offer services remotely via EDGE LMS software. New direct service awards in Washington, Tennessee and Florida won through competitive procurement quickly followed.
In 2019, Career TEAM was awarded its single largest government funded direct service contract, a $20M+ American Job Center management project by the East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG). The company also launched the revolutionary Interview
In 2020, EDGE software continued to add enhancements every week, serving job seekers, students, faculty, career services, workforce development professionals and employers. COVID-19 created a truly unfortunate, but necessary focus on remote access learning as social distancing and work from home became a national priority. EDGE software became a major solution to this challenge and resulted in several new initiatives, including a statewide EDGE software contract with the state of Kentucky, a system wide software implementation for the entire Tampa Bay workforce system and an initial award with Job Corps. The company also began offering complimentary EDGE software access for certain systems and institutions in need; to assist during challenging times.
In 2021, Career TEAM hired Dr. Robert Boone to oversee Special Projects (based out of Kentucky) and further bridge the gap between education and government. Newly appointed President Biden and the House Committee on Education and Labor unveiled an ambitious $15 billion national workforce plan (Relaunching America’s Workforce Act) which addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and positioned Career TEAM and its software solutions for unprecedented growth. The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act authorizes funding to provide essential career services and help workers attain additional skills and credentials as the economy emerges from its deepest decline since the Great Depression. The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act expands support for dislocated workers and funds layoff aversion strategies to help employers keep workers on the job. The bill invests in workforce training programs to help workers improve their skills and transition into new jobs in high-demand industries, including the health care, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors.
Top Level Funding:
- $500 million for National Dislocated Worker Grants
- $2.5 billion for State Dislocated Worker Grants
- $2.5 billion for Youth Workforce Investment Activities
- $2.5 billion for Adult Education and Training Activities
- $1 billion for Wagner- Peyser/Employment Services
- $500 million for JobCorps
- $150 million for Native American Programs
- $150 million for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers
- $250 million for YouthBuild
- $350 million for Reentry Employment Opportunities
- $500 million for Registered Apprenticeships
- $1 billion for Adult Education and Literacy
- $2 billion for Community College and Industry Partnership Grants (TAACCCT Grants)
- Provides eligibility flexibility and maintaining eligibility for use. This legislation expands on increased eligibility offered in the CARES Act, ensuring that all individuals in need of WIOA services are able to access them.
- Expands eligibility so anyone can access individualized career services
- This eligibility extends to all in the labor force, including the “gig” or independent contract worker.
- Expands the allowable amount of funds used on incumbent workers to 40%.
- Makes allowable 40% of funds for transitional jobs, including public sector jobs.
- Allows 75% of employee wages eligible to be reimbursed for on the job training.
- Allows for an additional 10% of allocated funds for governor’s reserve to be used for COVID-19 response.
- Requires states to deliver a COVID-19 recovery plan within 60 days of funds being distributed.
- Requires that at least 50% of dislocated worker grants to be distributed in 60 days.
- Makes allowable 1/3 of adult education funds to be used on incumbent worker training and employer supports.
- Native American Grants expanded eligibility to individuals at up to 150% of the poverty line.