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Changing Behavior to Build an Inclusive Employment Movement

We are working with employers to change their hiring practices and recruit community-based talent.

Hiring practices tremendously shifted this past year. Many of our closest employment partners are in the industries hardest impacted by COVID-19 such as hospitality and food service. We’ve seen these companies pause their hiring, which makes connecting people with gainful employment all the more challenging.

However, we’ve also seen new and promising opportunities to work with employers ready to grow their team and change their hiring practices to be more inclusive. We are using this momentum to start an inclusive employment movement, helping companies see and hire the amazing talent that exists in Chicago communities often overlooked.

Cara Plus, the expansion arm of Cara’s enterprise, has helped amplify our enterprise-wide voice to advocate for inclusive employment. We are collectively working to share actionable steps employers can take to hire community-based talent such as tweaking job descriptions that welcome a larger talent pool and accepting applicants who have previously been involved with the justice system.

“We all have bumps and bruises,” says Elaine Ross, Manager of Placement Services. “But that doesn’t mean a person wouldn’t make a positive impact on your company. Every single person on this earth has beautiful talents; they just need an opportunity to share them with the world.”

We are fortunate to work with companies who are eager to join the movement. Our friends at BMO Harris are dedicated to making the financial industry more accessible to jobs seekers with barriers to employment. Earlier this year, they partnered with us to co-create their new workforce initiative BMORE. Every step of the process was a collaboration from how we recruited talent to training and preparing potential hires. And through this program, BMO Harris has already hired 11 Cara participants to be their newest Customer Experience Representatives.

Joe Mutuc and Bianca, a member of our inaugural BMORE cohort, on the Good Day Chicago morning show

One of our incredible participants in this inaugural cohort is Bianca, a lifelong resident of the Austin community and single mother of two young children. “This job means I can be independent,” says Bianca. “I can provide and set the example of hard work for my children.”

As we enter 2021, we are eager to help more companies change their hiring behavior to find the essential talent from all Chicago communities.

Read more stories about how our participants and the Cara enterprise live out our Transformations every single day.