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How to Join Cara

How to Join Cara for Job Search Support - Woman speaking to group

At Cara, we say, “let’s get to work” all the time. But how can Cara actually help you get to work? It all starts with joining Cara, putting in the work and believing in yourself and your skills — that way, you can get that job offer and, by our measure of success, reach one year of employment.

Here’s what you need to know before you start your job search in Chicago with Cara

We want to make sure that you know we’re not here to just place you in a job and call it a day. We’re here to work with you so you can become your best self, walk with your head held a little higher, and get the right job for you. 

Before you complete Cara and set yourself up for real and lasting success — you need to take the first step and join us. 

Here’s what you need to know about joining Cara.

We want you to know that Cara is not your traditional job-readiness program. From the moment you join, you will be in a structured environment learning about becoming your best self and gaining new job skills. We’re looking for people who are willing to put in the work.

Cara is unpaid, but we hope potential participants look at this as an investment. While you’re in our trainings, we provide transportation, lunch, professional clothing, temporary job opportunities, and professional development-branded training (like ABM Janitorial, Greater Chicago Food Depository, OSHA, and customer service). 

Remember, you’re not alone and will have a support system throughout your time at Cara. Cara is the Irish word for friend, and you will always have a friend to lean on at Cara.

I’m looking for job search support, how do I know if Cara is the right fit for me?

At Cara, we’re committed to working with everyone who wants to take the time to dedicate to bettering themselves, their families, and their communities through meaningful employment. Remember, we’re not looking at where you were, but where you’re going. If you fit the criteria below, you’re on the right track. 

  • You must be a motivated job seeker — This means you want to put in the work to get to work.
  • You should be 18 years or older — While we appreciate everyone looking for meaningful work, we cater to legal adults in their job search.
  • You shouldn’t have a severely violent conviction on your record— Cara is committed to working with everyone looking for meaningful employment, but we do not accept those with severely violent convictions including but not limited to murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault, child abuse, and hate crimes. 
  • You cannot have an open court case against you — To join, all cases must be closed, and you cannot have an open or pending case. You can be on house arrest, parole, or probation as long as the case is closed.
  • You need to have stable housing — Where are you listing your address? To be entered into the program, you need to be living in one location for at least three months from the class start date. This can be at a home or a shelter. 
  • You must have stable childcare from Monday to Thursday from 8:15 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. — We’re here to focus on you, so when you’re here, we want you to be fully present and in the moment. We get that things come up, but we need you to be fully committed to learning while you’re with us.
  • You must be drug-free — Marijuana is the only exception. Even though marijuana is now legal in Illinois, we do encourage all participants to become totally drug-free. You must also admit to having marijuana in your system upon acceptance to Cara.

Does this sound like you? Then it may be the right time to join. 

What are the steps to joining Cara?

  1. Phone Screen — Whether you were referred to Cara by one of our employment partners or you found Cara on your own or through your community, the first step is a phone call with an admissions specialist. During this call, our team will provide a program overview, we’ll learn more about you and your background and make sure you meet the criteria for joining the program. If this all goes well, we’ll schedule your in-person interview.
  2. In-Person Interview –  For this step, we ask that you join us at our Cara offices in Chicago’s West Loop. Here we’ll continue our conversation from the phone screen and get a little more in-depth about your background and your motivation for joining. We’ll also outline the program in more detail. We want to make sure that we’re the right fit for you and you are the right fit for us. 
  3. Orientation — After you’ve been accepted into the Cara program, we welcome you with an orientation. Here you’ll meet our staff and the other students as you prepare for your Cara journey. During this time, you’ll also get introduced to Motivations—our daily inspirational exercise that builds community and better connects you with your fellow Cara participants. 

Ready to get to work? Contact our team at Cara today and we’ll start the transformational journey with you.