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We know that we cannot solve the problems of homelessness and poverty alone, so we partner with a wide range of organizations to serve those in need. Together, with all of our partners, we provide wrap around services that are effective and efficient.  

Click here to read a story about one of our graduates, referred to us by St. Martin de Porres.


Eligibility and Referral Process

A PDF listing the class start dates for 2016 is available here.

The following is a step-by-step overview of how to determine eligibility and refer someone to Cara:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Candidates must:

  • Be drug-free
  • Have stable housing for at least 3 months
  • Have reliable childcare
  • Be mentally/physically stable
  • Not have convictions of a violent nature

Candidates can fill out a form at to determine if they are eligible for the program.

Step 2: Send a Referral

All candidates need a referral from a community member who can vouch for their motivation. Referrals can be emailed to or faxed to 312-382-0268. Include the name of the individual being referred and the contact information of the person submitting the referral (name, organization, and phone number).

Step 3: Call us

Call Cara’s admissions team at 312.798.3309, option 5 and leave a message. An admissions representative will be in touch within 24-48 business hours to disscuss next steps. 

If the candidate meets the eligibility criteria, he/she will participate in a one-on-one interview with a staff member at Cara.  The candidate must complete and pass a drug test. An assessment of readiness will be made after the initial meetings and when the drug test results are received. Individuals who are accepted into Cara will be contacted within one to two weeks of their last appointment and will be scheduled for the next available training class.


Our Referral Network

Every step of this journey relies greatly on partnerships - partnerships between staff and students, between staff and hiring partners, and between staff and community partners, whose support is critical to developing an individual's capacity to achieve real, lasting success.  Our gifted and generous community partners are highlighted below.

Cara is also a member of the 741 Collaborative, a partnership of Chicago-based not-for-profit agencies dedicated to a cooperative workforce development and job placement services model.


Interestedin becoming a referral partner? Call 312-798-3300 and ask to speak with an Admissions Specialist.

as of 10/2015

The Impact

Job Placements

graduates placed into quality jobs since 1991

learn more

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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