Carreras provided courses and educational and employment assistance to Latino job seekers with low incomes to help them enroll in occupational training to gain the necessary skills and credentials for jobs as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
The program, operated by Instituto del Progreso Latino, offered tuition-free instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL) with a focus on language skills for the health care industry and two 16-week courses designed to (1) improve reading and math skills to prepare participants for an LPN program and (2) develop basic vocational skills for the health care industry. The program also helped participants apply to CNA and LPN courses at local colleges, including assistance in applying for financial aid. All participants could receive academic advising, job search assistance, and case management. Individuals who directly enrolled in courses through Carreras also received public benefits assistance, supportive services such as child care or transportation, and tutoring. As of 2020, Carreras en Salud continues to offer similar services to eligible participants. Depending on their skill level at program entry, participants could take up to five 16-week ESL and pre-LPN courses, an 8-week CNA course, two semesters of LPN prerequisites, and 12 months of LPN courses at local community colleges. The program focused on bilingual Hispanic job seekers with English literacy skills at or above a fourth-grade level, family incomes below $35,000, and an interest in health care. Carreras was implemented in Chicago, IL.
Carreras was part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education study which also evaluated the following career pathways programs: Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry, Health Careers for All, Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training, Pathways to Healthcare, Patient Care Pathway Program, Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement, Workforce Training Academy Connect, and Year Up.