Celebrating 10 Years of Connecting Top Talent to Quality Jobs.

This year we mark 10 years of Cara Connects, our mission-driven staffing firm. Since launching in 2013, Cara Connects has become an integral part of Cara Collective’s mission to eradicate poverty, while providing a valuable source or revenue to fuel this work. To date, we have placed more than 1,200 people into temp-to-perm job opportunities, while hitting many milestones along the way. See below for key moments, metrics, and stories from our first ten years; plus how you can support our next ten years and beyond! #Connects10 

Our First 10 Years

Our Launch

As we could feel the weight of the job market shifting beneath us in the throes of the still-lingering recession, we realized employers had to be nimble with their resources while having the ability to ramp up and down with the ebbs and flows of the market. We too had to be nimble and expand our reach to integrate the many talented people throughout our city that sat on the sidelines of the mainstream workforce and were now looking to jump back in. And with that, Cara Connects launched in 2013 to connect quality talent with quality jobs.

And the Winner is…

We receive the Social Innovator Award at the 2015 Chicago Innovation Awards. This honor helped validate the work and mission of Cara Connects while further propelling our reach and impact in our infancy as a business.

Launching a Signature Partnership

We secure our first assignment with Habitat. This begins a partnership that will grow to become Cara Connects most successful. To date, more than 1,000 jobs have been filled at Habitat properties across Chicago.

Reaching New Neighborhoods

We launch a co-location with our friends at Northwest Center, a non-profit organization that offers housing counseling, financial coaching, and business development support. In this partnership, we are able to provide resource support and employment opportunities directly to hundreds of residents of the Belmont-Cragin community each year.

Expanding Opportunities

Thanks to a grant from UnidosUS and Verizon Wireless, Northwest Center and Cara Connects started a Latinos @ Work program named Adelante, the Spanish word for “Forward”. The program focuses on teaching job seekers in the Belmont Cragin community how to competitively enter the workforce with digital skills that lead to gainful employment.

1,000 Assignments

We celebrate our 1,000th Cara Connects assignment.

Providing Essential Services

We partner with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Governor JB Pritzker, and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on an $8 million investment to expand job opportunities for residents in Chicago and Cook County who have become unemployed as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this, we worked with The Partnership to place, train, and hire professionally displaced residents for an array of jobs in assisting with local disaster relief programs and in-demand industries connected to the COVID crisis.

Deepening Our Community Presence

We launch the Corridor Ambassador program in the Belmont Cragin community by welcoming and supporting the people who visit, shop, and work along commercial corridors. This program is a part of the Chicago Recovery Plan’s strategy for equitable economic recovery and support for thriving and safe communities.

Marking a Milestone

We celebrate 10 years of Cara Connects and the nearly 1,200 people who have been placed into more than 2,400 job assignments.

Our Impact

People Employed Since 2013
Total Assignments Placed
Partner Companies
Average Hourly Wage
Worker Hours in FY22
Assignment Retention

Connects Stories

Q&A with Northwest Center Executive Director, James Rudyk
As part of Cara Connects’ 10th anniversary, we are sharing stories highlighting our key moments and our community. This piece…
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Adelante: Bridging the Digital Divide in a Completely Digital World
As part of Cara Connects’ 10th anniversary, we are sharing stories highlighting our key moments and our community. This piece…
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Key Moments in Cara Connects’ First 10 Years
In 2023, we mark 10 years of our mission-driven social enterprise, Cara Connects. Today, Connects works with hundreds of job…
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Cara Means ‘Friend’ and We Have One in Northwest Center
As part of Cara Connects’ 10th anniversary, we are sharing stories highlighting our key moments and our community. This piece…
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Join us for Tribute to the Stars

Celebrate With Us

This year, our annual Tribute to the Stars event is a celebration of Cara Connects! Join us as we honor key partners from Connects’ first ten years and hear stories from our Cara alumni.

Tickets & Sponsorships

Support our Next 10 Years

Your donation to Cara Collective will help ensure more motivated job seekers get connected to quality jobs at leading Chicago companies.

Your Organization’s Needs,
Met with Our Talent Solutions

Learn more and hire Cara Connects for your temporary placement needs.