The Importance of Transitional Jobs

Cara Staff

At Cara, some of our participants build up their resumes and skills with transitional jobs before gaining full-time employment. Learn about these opportunities and why they’re so valuable.

What are transitional jobs?

Transitional jobs are temporary jobs designed to help individuals build new skills and experience as they seek full-time employment. Transitional employment programs are particularly beneficial for job seekers overcoming barriers—like poverty, homelessness, lack of transportation, or long gaps in employment history, among others. It’s a way for our participants to simultaneously build their resumes and their confidence, while also earning an income.

The Benefits of Transitional Employment

Our participants find that the short-term opportunities provided through Cleanslate and Cara Connects help them:

  • Apply their skills to new situations. All of our participants join us with existing strengths, talents, and interests. For example, some people are great at making conversation while others are more detail-oriented and can keep track of many different moving parts. The life skills our participants already have are valuable on-the-job skills.
  • Try out a job temporarily to see if it’s a good match. Some of our participants join us with an idea of what they want to do, but others need to see what’s out there in order to determine what career path is the right fit. Getting to know our participants helps us place them in temporary positions that fit their interests, talents, and personalities. 
  • Learn new skills and abilities. If participants have been out of work, have had a hard time maintaining employment in the past, or are looking to start working in a new field, transitional opportunities provide on-the-job training and learning that they can apply to a permanent position down the line. We curate opportunities for our participants to develop the expertise they need to land a quality job—from computer and customer service skills to job-specific certifications.
  • Gain experience and references. Participants learn on the job and gain valuable expertise that they can turn around and list on their resumes. That way, they gain experience to add to their employment history and use it to get a permanent job in the future. Developing good working relationships with managers and supervisors also helps participants build out their professional networks and strengthen their reference lists.
  • A steady paycheck. While volunteer work is also a beneficial addition to any resume, all of our transitional job opportunities are paid. We know that earning a steady income is important. That’s why we also have support in place for participants that need it—and provide free transit cards, free professional attire, and retention coaching to all participants so they can put their best foot forward.

How Does Transitional Employment Work at Cara?

For both temporary and full-time jobs, we reach out to our network of employment partners—businesses and organizations that want to hire, affect change, and make a commitment to inclusive employment. Some of the organizations where we have placed participants include Whole Foods, University of Chicago Medicine, the Chicago Transit Authority, Catholic Charities of Chicago, Eataly, ABM, and more.

If you’re interested in embarking on your journey of self-growth and gaining new skills to be successful on the job, learn more about our program or contact our team today to get started.