Makes the Difference...
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some questions we've been asked. We hope our
answers help clarify how CARES Chicago
can work with you. Of course, if you have additional
questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (773) 265-3300 or
via e-mail at:
How long do your programs last?
The length of our programs depends on which
program you enroll in. However, most programs are geared
to helping you find and retain employment. Once we've
accomplished that goal, we are available to work with you for
the next year should any concerns arise. In addition, most
of our programs require that we meet with each client at least
once per month.
What are the requirements for your programs?
Individuals can qualify for our programs in a
number of different ways. To begin with, you must meet our
"low-income" status. This can be done automatically, if
you receive any of the following: Food stamps, cash welfare
payments, etc. However, if you do not receive any public
aid benefits, we can still work with you to do a "low income
calculation." Please contact us for more information about
qualifying for our programs.
I already have a job. Can you help me find a new
Yes, we can. We offer comprehensive
career counseling services. Our counselors will meet with
you to learn about your current position, any concerns or
difficulties you are having, what your career goals are, and how
your background, education, and experience can help you achieve
those goals. In addition, we will offer you some career
assessments, which can help determine the types of jobs that fit
your interests as well as your values and priorities where
employment is concerned.
What kind of accommodations or help do you
provide to people with disabilities?
We have a qualified staff who have
experience helping individuals with disabilities. In
fact, CARES Chicago, under its previous name of IAMCARES, was
founded to help Union workers who had been injured at their
jobs. Its mission then expanded to focus on serving all
individuals with disabilities to find employment and gain
self-sufficiency. Currently, CARES serves all underserved
populations by providing employment, training, and support
services. In particular, the Supported
Employment Program serves individuals who need
extensive support services to obtain and retain employment.
How long will it take me to find a job?
Though we encourage our clients to be
optimistic, we also like them to be realistic. Finding a
job must be treated as a full-time job, in and of itself.
If clients are motivated and willing to spend 40 hours per week
looking for employment, they will find jobs more quickly than
someone who only puts in 10 hours each week. In other
words, the answer to this question largely depends upon you!
We are available throughout the week to meet with you, review
your progress, provide you with additional job leads but also
expect you to spend time away from our office looking and
applying for jobs. Generally, finding employment can take
as little as 2 weeks to as much as a few months.
Can you give me training for any career I
Many of CARES Chicago's programs are
funded through the federal government's Workforce Investment
Act and the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (www.cityofchicago.org/mowd).
Once we have begun working with you, we will determine
if you know what kind of training you would like or if you
require training to pursue your field of interest. In
this case, the Mayor's Office contracts with over 200
training providers offering more than 700 different training
courses. We can work with you to assess which training
course is right for you and to help you enroll in that
What are the requirements to receive
We require that you meet with us on a
number of occasions before we decide to enroll you in a
training course. There is an Individual Training
Account (or ITA) available to everyone and this is a $5,000
stipend to pursue training in a specific field.
However, this ITA is only available once for each
individual. In other words, if you choose a training
program and do not like it or the subject you are studying,
you will have used up your ITA and will not have it
available in the future. Therefore, we work closely
with our clients to determine their work histories and
career goals. Initially, we like to help clients
pursue employment without having them use their ITAs.
In this manner, should they require an ITA down the road, it
is still available for them. We ask that clients
thoroughly explore the area of training in which they have
expressed interest. Our programs require that each
client researches at least two training programs offering
the same training courses (such as a certification to become
an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse). After their
research, we will ask clients the following questions: How
long is the program? How were its facilities? What did you
think of the program's instructors and the content of the
course? What qualification or certificate will you have
achieved once you complete the training course? What are job
opportunities in your chosen field? Does your training
program provide career counseling and connections with
employers in the field you'll be in? We want to make
sure that you are comfortable with the course you've chosen
and that it can offer you ample career opportunities to
enhance the quality of your life.
What will happen to my
benefits once I become employed?
The answer to this question is fairly
complex and largely depends on each individual's particular
situation. In all cases, however, if you are receiving
unemployment benefits and become employed, you will no
longer receive those benefits. Similarly, depending on
how much you will be getting paid, you may no longer be
eligible for Public Aid, such as food stamps, a medical
card, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and/or other welfare
benefits. Finally, if you are receiving SSI or SSDI,
you will most likely continue to receive some of those
benefits but the amount you receive will decrease once you