Maria Kim: Working to Turn Homelessness and Poverty Into A Powerful Workforce


Have you ever heard of a nonprofit that develops workers from poverty to those that have a higher than average job retention rate? And, an organization that focuses their workplace job training based on motivation, love, and forgiveness?

In today’s podcast, listen to how Maria Kim, CEO of The Cara Program and board member of several social purpose organizations, has managed to do this with Cara, a nonprofit focused on providing sustainable workforce development for men and women affected by homelessness and poverty in Chicago.

Maria will talk about how Cara has helped changed the lives of thousands of people through their training campuses and social enterprises. She will also discuss why the organization has been very successful in placing people into permanent employment for the long-term. She will touch on her own experiences of shifting from a career in the corporate sector to specializing in social purpose organizations as well.

With Motivation, education on soft and hard skills, and plenty of partnerships, Maria through Cara has changed, and will continue to change, the lives of many people. By supporting organizations like Cara, you too can be a vehicle for true life transformation.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

• How The Cara Program has helped more than 70% of their shareholders be employed and remain employed after one year of employment.
• Why Cara has been successful in keeping itself afloat with its social enterprises.
• Why everyday “Motivation” is so important to Cara (and why so many outsiders want to be part of it).


• We’re all about helping folks get back to work… But we’re also about helping folks get their mojo back.
• It’s about people that are… interested and eager to get back to work and building (their) esteem to break through those barriers.
• We want to make sure they know we care… We want them to reach this milestone so that they could get through more sustainable employment.
• Ain’t nothing to it but to do it, so do it.

Big Takeaways:

• The Cara Program focuses on providing long-term and sustainable employment for the high-risk people that they work with. This means not only providing them jobs, but making sure that they are well-equipped to deal with the problems they may encounter in the future.
• While Cara is a nonprofit organization, Maria has applied a number of corporate principles to her work in order to make Cara thrive.

Related Links & References:

• Maria’s LinkedIn:
• The Cara Program:
• TCP Staffing:
• Cleanslate:

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