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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Started as a nonprofit organization to help mid-life women reenter the workforce, the Career Action Center (CAC) was one of the nation’s largest independent career development centers in 1993. While its original vision reflected the personal situations of the five founding members, the Center had seen dramatic changes not only to its client base but also in its funding sources.
Due to a changing economy and rising cost of living, by the mid-1980s, professional women changing jobs or careers, recent college graduates, and even laid-off men combined to make up the bulk of CAC’s clients. To accommodate the increasing demand for its services, CAC began to rely more heavily on corporate sponsorships and individual donors and less on grants and volunteers.
Despite the Center’s decisions to continue focusing on women and not to provide corporate services, CAC’s difficult financial situation in 1990 motivated it to help Sun Microsystems set up an on-site career development center for Sun employees. Following on the heels of its success with Sun, CAC soon found itself providing similar services to Silicon Valley notables Apple, Intel, and Raychem.
By 1993, CAC leadership realized it had to reconsider the contradiction in its mission as a center for women but open to all. CAC began to assess its activities, funding sources, culture, and opportunities to actively develop a plan for its future direction.
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Case No: SI95