It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond

Entrepreneurial spirit brings life to old material by Nheeda Enriquez

This week I stopped at the Career Center at CPCC (on a referral from another innovative department at the College…more on that in a later post.)  Headed by Pat Nash, the Center has won awards from the League of Innovation in the Community College (Who knew?!  See what happens when you poke around this town?)  It was the first community college to bring counseling services online in 2004, and since then has been finding ways to use technology to aid students in their job searches, including pilots with social media and video tutorials.

photo courtesy of CPCC career center

photo courtesy of CPCC career center

Career counseling is an old business, and it may be tempting to serve the same porridge to a new crop of graduates every year.  But in a town with 11% unemployment, this service is more important than ever.  Nash credits the entrepreneurial spirit of her staff, and they have all the ingredients of an innovative team.  On top of their regular jobs, they test their own ideas and “don’t get nervous” in that ambiguous limbo when a path isn’t yet clearly defined.  They learn and adapt midstream and most importantly, have room to fail, and to try do it cheaply.  But they’re so successful, that they’ve extended their services outside of the community, even giving career transition seminars to retiring players of the Carolina Panthers.