From Industrial Engineer to Career Coach: Carla G. Jones '94

Carla G. Jones '94

Carla G. Jones ’94 did not always envision herself in the career-coaching profession per se, but as an NJIT student she was continually involved in activities where she was helping someone or improving something. And looking back on her decision to study industrial engineering, she even chose a major closely connected to working with people to improve systems or processes.

Originally from Newark and now based in Maryland, Jones most recently managed a career-coaching program for a nonprofit organization in the DC metro area and currently teaches career planning as an adjunct professor at a local university. Her new book, I S.E.E. Me, is a collection of stories, quotes and poems on topics such as consistency, persistence, procrastination and letting go of fear that can help to inspire those facing doubt, fear or obstacles.

“From working professionals, to graduating high school or college students, to those in between jobs, this book is a great pick-me-up for anyone who loses or needs motivation to accomplish their goals,” Jones explained. “S.E.E. is an acronym for ‘Strength, Empower and Encourage,’ which is what readers will gain from reading this book. My motivation for writing it comes from working with so many people who get discouraged while working on their goals and need additional reminders from time to time—myself included. The book serves as a portable companion to remind you keep moving forward, one step at a time.”

Jones said that her NJIT degree provided her with the opportunity to build a solid foundation that can be applied to many different professions – including career coaching.

“As a career coach, when I tell people that I have an engineering degree, the first thing they say is, ‘I would have never guessed that.’ As you can imagine, career coaching is very different from engineering. People tend to view engineers as very methodical, and seeing things as either black or white. In career coaching, there is a lot of ‘gray.’ The answers aren’t always obvious, or may not make perfect sense.”

According to Jones, the critical thinking, analytical skills, systems-development and process- improvement strategies she learned at NJIT helped to build her foundation as a coach.

“It is because of this foundation that I am able to combine ‘head’ and ‘heart’ into my practice as a career coach,” she said.

As an NJIT student, Jones opted to stay on campus and lived in Redwood, Cypress and Oak Residence Halls. During those years, she also was a residence adviser (RA) at Cypress and Oak Halls.

“Although the classes were tough, I was able to take advantage of several other programs and activities on campus – becoming a peer counselor and RA, being a note-taker for students with disabilities, being involved in the Educational Opportunity Program, National Society for Black Engineers, and the Black Association of Student Engineers, and participating in a co-op opportunity through the Career Services office. I was grateful and humbled to have received the Peter Small Scholarship Award for Service during my time at NJIT. These experiences were both academically and socially enriching.”

Her most memorable moment as an NJIT student was walking across the stage to receive her degree at commencement.

“You see, I had lost my dad during my second year at NJIT and I was devastated. My mom passed away when I was much younger, so he had basically raised me. We were very close. I was on probation a couple of semesters following his death and almost flunked out. But through the support of family, friends and NJIT’s Counseling Center, I was able to get back on solid footing and complete my degree. So, in that moment of receiving my degree I was proudly walking across that stage for both me and my dad.”

In the year immediately following graduation, Jones worked as an industrial engineer for United Parcel Service. In that role, she was responsible for projecting volume, monitoring package routes and reporting operating results. The second year into this job, she returned to school to pursue her MBA at Rutgers University.

What is her lasting impression of NJIT?

“It is the place that helped to develop the foundation upon which I stand today. From the classes, to the staff, to long-lasting friendships that were made, it is a place that I will never forget.”

To learn more about I S.E.E. Me, Carla, or how to purchase copies, please visit: Copies are also available directly at Authorhouse, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Christina Crovetto