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Securing a job is not the end, but it can be the beginning to real success for many of our students. Everything we endeavor to pass along to the students is put into play when they start their jobs. They must show up on time everyday, they must work hard, and they must responsibly manage their finances.

For these reasons, we stay involved for at least the first year on their new job, and we deploy a strategy we call 'aggressive outreach.'  We not only meet with employed students on a regular basis to discuss their work performance, their budget, and their plans for the future, but we also seek them out in their moments of crisis.  We engage with them when they need it most - when they lose their child care provider, when they call in sick, when they have conflicts at work.  We work with them to create solutions and to apply the critical life skills they learned at Cara to their daily lives.  

We also recognize the role that each student's supervisor plays in his/ her success on the job.  Therefore, each student's coach is in touch with the respective supervisor, in order to anticipate and proactively overcome obstacles to the employed student's work performance.

On the anniversary of their first year of employment, students are rewarded with a plaque on the wall of Cara and are honored in front of fellow students.  The Great Wall Ceremony serves as a celebration of employed students' accomplishments and as motivation for students just starting at Cara.

The goal of Cara is not simply to see each student secure a job, purchase a home, and accrue savings.  It is to know that they have built a solid foundation for the future and that they are setting and achieving goals.  We want our graduates to have the self knowledge, the inner strength, and the practical skills that they need to create lasting success.     

Post-Employment Support:

  • Regular meetings and phone calls to check on employed students' status and progress
  • Coordination with students' supervisors
  • Development of long-term goals, including housing, education, debt repayment, credit amelioration, budgeting and planning
  • Rental assistance and emergency utility payments
  • Referrals to other providers for housing, childcare, financial assistance
  • Probono legal counsel
  •  We provide assistance opening a saving account.  To continue their journey to real, lasting success, graduates are encouraged to use this savings towards furthering their or their children's education or further stabilizing their housing situation (and for some, eventual home ownership).   

The Impact

The Cara Program is a 4-Star Charity

Charity Navigator has awarded The Cara Program its most coveted 4-star rating!

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Our Partner Programs

  • Clean Slate
  • TCP Staffing

Our Supporters and Employers

  • Morgan Stanley
  • Kellogg Company
  • Lurie Children's Hospital
  • Mariano's
  • Rebuilding Exchange
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Sodexo
  • Salvation Army
  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Levy Restaurants
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Rivers Casino
  • Fitness Formula Clubs
  • Eataly Chicago
  • Housing Authority of Cook County
  • Catholic Charities
  • Harvard Maintenance Inc
  • Gotham Greens
  • Engineered Glass Products
  • The Habitat Company
  • Union League Club
  • Palmer House Hilton
  • Hilton Chicago O'Hare
  • Loretto Hospital
  • Resurrection Healthcare
  • Hyatt Regency Chicago
  • Hyatt Regency O'Hare
  • Hyatt Regency McCormick
  • Standard Parking
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Pierce and Associates
  • Mercy Housing Lakefront
  • Center For Working Families
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • Cleanslate
  • ABM Janitorial Services
  • Allied Barton Security Services
  • Bank of America
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