Participant Development Specialist

Chicago, IL, United States

Job Description

About Cara Collective Cara Collective seeks to fuel a courageous national movement to eradicate relational and financial poverty. Through our four entities – Cara Chicago, Cleanslate, Cara Connects, and Cara Plus – we engage job seekers, employers, and other organizations across the country to break the cycle of poverty through the power and purpose of employment. At present, we produce 1,000 jobs each year, at one-year retention rates for their permanent placements over 20 points higher than national norms, and with over 80% of employed participants moving on to 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 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 the 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. Today, we take the insights gained over the last three decades to not only serve a growing number of jobseekers locally, but also to equip other organizations and employers nationally with the tools and practices to build a more inclusive economy. Our hope is that as more jobseekers get back to work, and more employers realize the value of this untapped workforce, we will not only shift the narrative of what talent looks like in our country, we will also ensure thousands more families realize the lasting power of hope, jobs, and opportunity. Learn more at .
About the Role Participant Development Specialist is responsible for driving participants’ growth and development in their self-directed job searches and send out eligibility (SOE) for employment with hiring partners through direct interaction with all program participants while leveraging the efforts of participant-facing volunteers. The Participant Development Specialist is the first point of contact for participant-facing volunteers (Career Coach, Interview Coach, and Portfolio Coach) who work to drive growth in socio-emotional skills and job search outcomes for our participants. Another focus is that participant-facing volunteers have fulfilling experiences with the structure and tools necessary to contribute real value to Cara Collective’s mission. Reports To Manager of Career Advancement and Alumni Engagement The Responsibilities of the Participant Development Specialist Participant Development – Send Out Eligibility (SOE) and Self-Directed Job Search Progress (50%)

  • Coordinate all aspects of participants’ journey toward SOE
  • Train and guide participants in all relevant processes to leverage the full benefits of our program resources in their journeys
  • Manage and ensure the creation of verified resumes for all job-seeking participants.
  • Serve as a member of the orientation team for new participants
  • Hands-on participant development on in-person participant training days
  • Partner with participants to produce working resumes and update their professional portfolios
Volunteer Management (30%)
  • Track all participant-facing volunteer coaching sessions and related outcomes.
  • Help respond to referrals and inquiries as needed.
Scheduling and Execution (10%)
  • Monitor volunteer schedule in outlook to ensure volunteer calendar and needs are regularly updated. And, assist in development and regular updating of Volunteer Portal.
  • Coordinate weekly calendar with Front Desk and ensure that the Front Desk has all the materials that they need to properly greet volunteers.
  • Assist in the management of volunteer handouts, guides, and other materials.
  • Confirm and email offsite volunteers to let them know which participants are coming and quickly troubleshoot changes.
Relationship Management (10%)
  • Check in with volunteers and connect them to appropriate Programs staff members if they have pressing concerns
  • Manage data and communications as presented in volunteer portal
  • Enter all volunteer contact information updates and relevant info into Salesforce
  • Ensure quality reach-outs and ‘face time’ with volunteers, their experience, their ideas, their productivity, etc.
Other duties as assigned. Qualifications
  • Associate’s degree and at least 3 years of professional experience
  • Flexibility and adaptability with an orientation to collaborative intentionality
  • Demonstrated work history of resourcefulness and problem solving
  • Highly organized and able to manage multiple and sometimes shifting priorities/stakeholders
  • High energy and ability to engage others towards a common goal
  • Computer literacy and ability to meet documentation deadlines
  • Excellent written and verbal skills
  • Demonstrable empathy and an openness to learning as well as teaching
  • Facilitation skills
Equal Opportunity Employer Cara Collective is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Cara does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please email us at if you require reasonable accommodation to complete this application.

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Job Detail

  • Job Id
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  • Job Type:
    Full Time
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  • Employment Status
  • Job Location
    Chicago, IL, United States
  • Education
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