The scene at Tuesday's Education Day during CIAA week in 2017 (Photo courtesy of CIAA)

CIAA tournament week is the perfect time to make connections.

Despite a lot of excitement for athletics, the five-day tournament also becomes an agenda for community development, and Charlotte instantly becomes a mass of students, small business entrepreneurs, and leading corporations.

“It’s about everybody being able to network and benefit … whether it’s amongst your own peers or corporations that are headquartered in Charlotte,” says Antriece Mitchell, host of the networking event, Breakfast Conversations.

There is a great reach for a connection between the community and the CIAA Tournament. That is why the CIAA hosts its annual Education Day and Career Expo.

The popular Career Expo is a grand mixer establishing connections and advice between students and employers, recruiters, and current CIAA member schools.

It is an interactive event, where students are asked to bring a resume and a “pitch” that delivers their goals and skills.

The Expo has been known to have some of the top companies as guests, such as Verizon, Nationwide, the F.B.I, and Toyota.

Tournament week has focused much of its recruitment towards students. Previously hosting 5,000 students, CIAA Education Day is a more direct program for students to gain knowledge and advice from CIAA colleges and universities.

“It is important to have these types of events where students, entrepreneurs and business leaders of diverse backgrounds and experiences can come together to learn from and network with one another. Knowledge is truly powerful,” says CIAA Commissioner, Jacqie McWilliams.

CIAA now partners with the Charlotte Center City Partners for a pre-tournament networking event. The invite-only event focuses on building community wealth through lectures from business wealth experts.

Business Breakfast & Networking is also a growing event hosted by the CIAA. Black-owned businesses in the Charlotte region provide education and networking opportunities with CIAA member companies such as Coca-Cola, Food Lion, Toyota and Nationwide.

With the opportunity for athletes in the conference to be recognized, this melting pot of students, businesses, and the CIAA will advance more connections and growth.

For more information on the CIAA networking events, visit or call (704) 910-2133.

Jasmine Kerr is a multimedia student at N.C. A&T State University.