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Ivy Tech's Career Coaching and Employer Connections (CCEC) Overview Session

  • 08 Mar 2022
  • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM


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Join Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Kathy Neary, Jessica Jagger, Cindy Randolph, and Brandi Smith as they share information about Ivy Tech's new, strategic approach to career development: The Career Coaching and Employer Connections (CCEC) Model.  

In this session, presenters will discuss:

  • What inspired the new model;
  • How is the new model structured;
  • What has worked well; 
  • What are takeaways other Indiana higher education institutions could implement on their campus; and
  • How can CDPI continue to support ITCC and the growth of the CECC model?

About the CCEC Model (Visit the Ivy Tech Website)

The Office of Career Coaching and Employer Connections (CCEC) at Ivy Tech Central Indiana provides services and development to students, alumni, and employers. CCEC combines the efforts of career development and employer engagement to address the needs of both students and employers/workforce in our community. This new, strategic approach will emphasize career readiness practices alongside preparation throughout a student's college experience. Additionally, employers will be engaged to provide valuable input in the student’s experience, while still receiving targeted services to address their workforce needs.

Through CCEC, all Ivy Tech students on the 19-campuses will: 
  • Create a career development portfolio: students will create and showcase to employers a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, work and learn experiences, and the professional network and connections they have built with support from their CCEC team.
  • Work with a career coach: focused, one-to-one relationship to help the student determine the right steps for their career path that match their values, interests, personality and skills.
Participate in work and learn opportunities: opportunity to build relationships with employers and gain direct experience in careers that interest the student, such as working alongside professionals in a tech company, or assisting on a Human Resources team in a healthcare organization.Career Coaching and Employer Connections Systems Office Team
Ivy Tech Community College

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Caroline Dowd-Higgins is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community College system where she is leading a transformative career development venture for students and employers on 19 campuses in the state of Indiana.

With 20+ years of career and professional development experience, she authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name and contributes to, Thrive Global, Ellevate Network,Medium and The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana. A sought-after public speaker and Executive Coach, Caroline empowers individuals to play to their strengths and achieve their personal goals. Her online video series about career & life empowerment for women is on YouTube. Caroline hosts the 3-time award winning podcast,  Your Working Lifeon iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Her TEDxWOMEN talk about reframing failure and defining success on your own terms is available on YouTube.


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Kathy Neary serves as Assistant Vice President of Employer Connections for Ivy Tech Community College.  As a premier provider of workforce training, Kathy contributes to economic growth by leading the training and employer resources support in communities statewide. Prior to her position with Ivy Tech, she was the Founder and CEO of Root Strategy, LLC serving the Chicagoland market.  She also oversaw national partnerships and sponsorships in for the second largest mall developer in the country.  In 2016, she was named Northwest Indiana Most Influential Woman of the Year in Business.  Her commitment to training and education for those she serves is exemplified with credentials as a certified job profiler, leadership facilitator, Change Agent and Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB).  With over eighteen years of combined experience in Workforce Development and Consulting, Kathy emphasizes passion toward the mission of a better quality of life for all. 


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 Brandi Smith serves as Assistant Vice President of Career Coaching for Ivy Tech Community College. She is a Board-Certified Coach with a Career Coaching Specialization. Brandi has coached people since 2014, including adolescents, families struggling with poverty, parents and couples, students in higher education, and individuals working on personal or career changes. Brandi created and implemented Indiana University Women Rising, a workforce gender equity education program, in 2018. She subsequently received the 2019 Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women for the impact of the program on women across the state. Brandi maintains a coaching business, where she works with people to initiate their personal and career goals. 

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Cindy Randolph serves as the Assistant Vice President of Employer and Student Talent Pipeline at Ivy Tech Community College. Previously, she served the Ivy Tech Lafayette campus service area as a Workforce Development Consultant. During that time, she served on the campus leadership cabinet and led the Achieve Your Degree initiative with employer partners. Her efforts with continuous improvement led to the delivery of basic lean principles to several hundred in the Lafayette service area and inspired her to earn a Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification. She is a trained Job Profiler and created a Women in Technology group, designed to build awareness, knowledge, and understanding of manufacturing opportunities for women. Actively involved in multiple areas of Board service, Cindy believes collaborative partnerships are the key to successful outcomes and finds great reward in helping communities build creative talent solutions leading to workplace success and quality of life.

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Jess Jagger serves as the Systems, Training, and Innovation Manager for the statewide Career Coaching and Employer Connections enterprise at Ivy Tech Community College. She is a service-oriented higher education professional dedicated to the success of Ivy Tech’s mission to better connect employer partners with a skilled talent pipeline, elevating the Indiana economy and livelihoods of its citizens. With extensive experience in hospitality and IT, she brings strong customer service skills and systems know-how to create a culture of constant and easily digestible learning for teams. For Jess, people are king, but data is a close second. She enjoys quantifying the human experience to help tell stories better. As a practiced Achiever, she shines in project management, strategic planning, effective communication and marketing, and documentation of processes.


Career Development Professionals of Indiana

Questions or suggestions for our website?

Contact the Director of Digital Communications at prcommunications@cdpi.org. 

Career Development Professionals of Indiana, Inc., P.O. Box 2745, Indianapolis, IN 46206.

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