Cracking the code to unemployment in Chicago and beyond

What does it take to empower unemployed individuals to find work and gain the skills to hold a job long-term? Cara, a groundbreaking organization that helps those experiencing poverty find meaningful employment, may have found the answer. 

For nearly 30 years, Cara has offered job training and workplace skills courses to prepare men and women from around Chicago for employment. But what sets this program apart is its focus on helping individuals build self-esteem and its support of participants’ success long after their initial placement. “We understand it’s not just about the skills you need to reenter the workforce,” said Maria Kim, Cara’s CEO. “It’s also about the skills to navigate the noise of life.” 

Now, Cara helps create and secure 1,000 jobs each year, and its one-year job retention rate is more than 70 percent — 20 points higher than the national average. 

That success is beginning to spread. Cara recently partnered with the Atlanta Mission, a nonprofit serving the homeless in Georgia, to help the organization build on their progress by supplementing their social programs with job training and practical skills education. 

See how Cara is helping unemployed individuals in Chicago through their unique blend of job training and long-term commitment — and find out more about their plans to bring help to other cities, too. 

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