The partnership also marks the introduction of Chicago organization’s newest entity, Cara Plus.
Cara Chicago announced the launch of an affiliate partnership with Atlanta Mission, when they welcome the first cohort of their workforce development program, Atlanta Mission @Work, on Monday, July 8.
Through this partnership, Atlanta Mission, a multi-facility nonprofit organization that annually serves more than 8,000 members of Metro Atlanta’s homeless population, will adopt Cara’s existing infrastructure of workforce development training to provide people experiencing poverty the training, placement, and retention support needed to get and keep gainful employment. For nearly 30 years, Cara has honed its services to become a best-in-class agency, placing people into nearly 1,000 jobs a year in Chicago with one-year retention rates of 70% for permanent placements. The Chicago institution now seeks to take that formula and help more people facing employment barriers get back to work in other communities around the county.
“In searching for a partner to help bring Cara’s services to a new market, we found the perfect match in Atlanta Mission,” said Maria Kim, President & CEO of Cara. “Their shared vision of disrupting poverty and homelessness through the power of community is steeped in the very same core values that guide our work. We are beyond thrilled to work with our new friends in Atlanta to help deepen their impact and create real and lasting success.”
The launch also marks the formation of Cara Plus – an expansion arm of the Cara enterprise that engages leaders to build, deploy, and grow strong workforce solutions so that our most vulnerable have the access and opportunity to get back to work. Cara Plus will work with its affiliates, like Atlanta Mission, to create locally owned and operated expressions of Cara in communities across the country. Cara Plus is also launching Cara Institute – multi-day immersive trainings and workshops for workforce development practitioners to learn from Cara and one another. By sharing its best practices and best failures, Cara will build a global network of organizations to amplify its collective reach and impact.
Cara first tested an expansion model in 2016 with Lutheran Social Services of Indiana. Today, LSSI Works has served more than 100 people.
“One of the key outcomes for all of our clients at Atlanta Mission is to retain employment – not just get a job but to have the skills to retain and grow in that job,” said Jim Reese, CEO of Atlanta Mission. “The workforce development and alignment of values that Cara brings to Atlanta Mission helps us reach this desired outcome for each of our clients. We are incredibly proud and excited about this partnership and how it will be used to impact more lives in our city.”
Cara first tested an expansion model in 2016 with its first affiliate, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, located in Fort Wayne. During this time, staff from both organizations co-created LSSI Works – a workforce development program steeped in the Cara methodology. Since its launch, LSSI Works has served more than 100 people and has seen average wages increase to more than $12 per hour for individuals who entered jobs following completion of the program.
“Through Cara Plus, we’re opening new on-ramps to our work in Chicago and exploring ways to take what we do to cities struggling to alleviate poverty and in need of a sustainable workforce solution to do so,” added Kim. “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. We spent nearly 30 years creating a pathway out of poverty, now let’s pave the road.”
Cara’s mission is to unlock the power and purpose within our communities and ourselves to create real and lasting success. Through its personal and professional development and access to employment opportunities, Cara serves as a leader in poverty alleviation in Chicago and beyond. Since 1991, more than 6,500 people have been placed into more than 10,000 jobs and started on their path to self-sufficiency.
About Atlanta Mission
Atlanta Mission is the city’s largest and longest-running provider of homeless services. Atlanta Mission transforms, through Christ, the lives of those facing homelessness. Established in 1938, they provide critical needs to over 1,000 homeless men, women, and children daily. To learn more, please visit www.atlantamission.org.