Last week I wrote about the abrupt closing of Corinthian Colleges (Heald College, Everest College, WyoTech) in California, leaving over 10,000 students short of completing their vocational/job training courses, and/or getting jobs.

Robin2Well-known Southern California entrepreneur Robin Richards quickly weighed in. Richards is currently the CEO of CareerArc, based in Burbank. He asked how he could locate the former Corinthian students. His goal: to offer the students free use of CareerArc’s career transition services. “Due to no fault of their own, this group of students are trying so hard and spending so much to better their prospects for a good life and overnight, their hopes have been dashed,” Richards explained.

Richards’ career represents main elements of the entrepreneurial ethos in California in the early 21st century. He has started several companies since 2000. These companies all have featured the use of technology to democratize services, such as outplacement, traditionally limited to middle and upper income workers; and as well as to provide the services more inexpensively and efficiently.

Richards has been profiled in recent years in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among national publications. He grew up north of Detroit, and came to California a few days after graduating from Michigan State. While in law school in California he started a video game business, placing video game machines in 7-Elevens.

His first major business, founded in 1985, was in outsourcing appointments. It arose from his time as a salesman, in which he found himself spending 40% of his time scheduling appointments rather than selling product. He started a company in the appointments business, Lexi International, which grew to be the largest outsourced appointment-setting company in the country when he sold it in 1993. Next, he was Managing Director at, which changed the way consumers purchased tickets worldwide – bringing the process online. That company was sold to Advantix. He was then the founding president of, which sold to Vivendi in 2001 for $373 million.

In the 2000s, he continued in the technology sector, first with Notification Technologies, Inc., a company that utilized targeted voice-based and text-based communication, to notify parents and schools of upcoming events or issues. He sold that in 2007 to Blackboard, and a few years later moved into the online job placement space.

He started in 2009. Hundreds of internship sites have since been started online, but has grown to become the largest. Richards has followed up with CareerArc, his current venture, that helps companies recruit talent and transition talent.

CareerArc’s online outplacement product combines job search tools with customized real-time notifications (e-mail, text messages/tweets) of job openings, referrals through social connections and on-demand online coaching to help laid-off workers get back to work quickly and help companies protect their brand during a crisis. It is these job placement tools and services that Richards wants to make available to Corinthian students without cost.

Several community colleges have been seeking out former Corinthian students in a relatively low tech way. Contra Costa Community College District Trustee Greg Enholm notes community college representatives in Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties did meet with Heald College students at several “Transfer Day” events hosted by Heald before it closed.

But the process of transferring credit from Heald to the community colleges is not a simple one. Further, as noted in last week’s posting, the community college enrollment system moves slowly compared to the for-profit colleges—classes start generally at set times, and on a semester system.

What CareerArc offers is a much faster way to move forward into either job placement, if possible, or some form of continued training. “Our career transition software is being utilized by blue-chip companies nationwide to help their laid-off or transitioning workers land a new role, and the parallels for working college students and recent graduates are many. We hope this can help,” said Richards.

So we are led to the question of how best to reach these students. Richards asked me. But I find that crowdsourcing a question likes this usually provides a better answer. What do you advise? You can e-mail me at or visit CareerArc at and fill out their “contact us” form.