Who We Are We are bootcamps and businesses that get people back to work
Since 1991, Cara has helped people affected by poverty (and often the challenges of recovery, domestic violence, episodic homelessness, and incarceration) to get and keep quality jobs and, more importantly, rebuild hope, self-esteem and opportunity for themselves and their families in the process. We produce hundreds of jobs each year, at one-year, same-firm retention rates over 20 points higher than national norms and with over 70% of those retained residing in permanent housing in which their families can thrive. Our results don’t just end with employment. We also maintain market-competitive businesses that create gateway jobs for those they serve and we produce a profound social return on investment, where for every dollar invested in this work, $5.97 is re-invested in society over a five-year time horizon. The work is important, not only because of its clear goal of bringing individuals in need back to the dignity and productivity of employment, but because of its clear mission to transform people’s lives. Families become stronger, relationships are healed, and communities become more vibrant because nothing gives you a positive outlook on life like a job.

Jobs Since 1991


People Employed Since 1991


Social Return on Investment

Our Mission

Unlock the power and purpose within our communities and ourselves to achieve real and lasting success.

Our Services

Think of our program services as a long dress rehearsal to get people ready for the rigor of today’s jobs. And think of our two social enterprises (our own businesses that create jobs in their own right) as offering real-world experiences where people can put the skills they learn right to work in a transitional job.

With these deeper resumes, we market our candidates for permanent jobs, where we double down as a coach to ensure people have what they need to not just land that job, but crush it. Learn more >

Our Impact

When you put all these services together, it results in a series of transformations, not transactions – real results that stick: Hundreds of quality jobs a year and climbing; one-year, same-firm retention rates over twenty points higher than national norms; seven of ten families now in permanent housing at the end of that first year; and a social return on investment of $5.97 over a five-year time horizon for every dollar invested in the work. Learn more >

Our Future

While we are proud of our data, we also palpably want to do more. With so many people still struggling in poverty, we want our hundreds to be thousands. So we’re opening up new on-ramps to our work in Chicago and exploring ways to take what we do on the road – particularly in Rust Belt cities struggling to alleviate poverty and in need of a sustainable workforce solution to do so. In this way, we seek to scale up in the jobs we help secure under our own roof and scale out the jobs we can help others secure through our own influence.

“I became homeless and slept on the Blue Line. That was 10 years ago. Cara is a life changer.”
Ronald Cara Alum
“For the first time in my life, I had people who wanted to help me and push me in the right direction.”
Pierre Cara Alum
"Cara helped me regain my faith in myself.”
Jim Cara Participant
“I know in my heart my journey’s not over.”
Jill Cara Alum and Recruitment Specialist

Our Supporters
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