We Are Cara Collective

Fueling a courageous national movement
to eradicate relational and financial poverty

We engage job seekers, employers, and other organizations across the country to break the cycle of poverty through the power and purpose of employment.

EQUIPPING JOB SEEKERS

We provide free workforce training, job placement, and personal and professional coaching to pave the way for gainful employment.

BUILDING THE FIELD

We work with organizations across the country to build, deploy, and grow strong workforce solutions to help more people experiencing poverty get back to work. 

SHIFTING PERSPECTIVES

We engage employers, civic leaders, and policymakers to shift perspectives on the issues that shape poverty and the opportunity we all have to help people out of it.

What Cara Collective Does

Since 1991, our mission has been to eradicate poverty and create hope, jobs, and opportunity. 

ABOUT US

FOR JOB SEEKERS

If you’re unemployed or underemployed, Cara offers a structured pathway to help you achieve long-term career success. Let’s work together to help you get and keep a job you’ll love.

FOR EMPLOYERS

Are you a hiring professional searching for screened, trained, qualified, and motivated entry-level talent? Let’s work together to source the talent you need. 

FOR ORGANIZATIONS

We share both our best practices and our best failures, in partnership with organizations across the country, in order to accelerate our collective learning and grow our impact.

GET INVOLVED

Inspired to help Cara Collective provide hope, jobs, and opportunity? Find out how through a wide variety of both charitable donation and volunteer opportunities.

Meet Cara Collective

The combination of our local practice and our national platform drives our vision to fuel a courageous national movement to eradicate relational and financial poverty. We achieve this through our four entities:

Cara

Our signature workforce readiness program that focuses on personal and professional development through intensive and flexible training models. Founded in 1991.

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Cleanslate

Our flagship social enterprise that transforms the landscape of our communities by providing transitional jobs in exterior maintenance. Founded in 2005.

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Cara Connects

Our mission-driven staffing firm connecting top talent with jobs at leading Chicago companies. Founded in 2013.

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Cara Plus

Our expansion arm that works with employers and nonprofits across the nation to build, deploy, and grow viable workforce development solutions. Founded in 2019.

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Our Impact

30 Years
Of Social Impact Work
12,553
Jobs Since 1991
7,761
People Employed
$5.97
Social Return on Investment
$98M
Total Earnings of Cara Participants
70%
One-Year, Same-Firm Retention Rate
68%
Participants in Permanent Housing at One Year on the Job
$15.77
Hourly Wage Earned

Cara Collective Stories

Philile

Cara’s 2020 Jesse Teverbaugh Distinguished Alumni Award honoree Philile Mabuza shares her story of having to flee her native country to save her and her children’s lives, the difficulties of acclimating to a new world, and the community she found at Cara.

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Emmett

Life dealt Emmett some rough cards early on during his childhood. When he was 9 years old, his mother died. To cope with the loss, Emmett turned to drugs and alcohol, which led to the next four decades of his life in addiction and in and out of the prison system. Emmett knew he wasn’t a bad man, he was just making bad choices.

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April

April devoted herself to taking care of her mother, who battled dementia for more than a decade. When her mother passed away, April was left devastated, lost, and homeless. She came to Cara to find a community that would help her launch a career, and today, she is a proud Guest Service Agent at Claridge House, as well as a licensed Illinois leasing agent.

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Michelle

“I am motivated by finding my purpose. I hope to find a job where I can work with people and motivate them to accomplish anything they want in life.”

Michelle landed a job as the Administration Coordinator with our friends at Chicago Cares. Way to go, Michelle! This is the perfect role for you to live out your passion for motivating others.

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Alejandra

Alejandra partnered with Cara Connects to not only find a job, but to unlock a renewed sense of hope and self-confidence. Two years into her job at HHPLIFT, she has already been promoted twice after taking lead on multiple major marketing campaigns.

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Dian

Dian refused to be defined by her past. She joined Cara in 2008, determined to create a promising future for her newborn son. She found her first job through Cleanslate and has been building an incredible career ever since.

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Our Partners

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Donate

Please consider a gift to this mission, and help bring people back to hope, jobs, and opportunity.

More Ways to Give

Discover more ways to support our mission and help set our Cara participants up for success.

Contact Us

Have a question or want to learn more about Cara Collective? We’ll help point you in the right direction.

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