Employment, Job Related

Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.

Houston, TX   |  http://www.careerandrecovery.org


To help people identify and overcome barriers to employment. We served the metropolitan Houston area, Ft. Bend, Brookshire, and Waller counties.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Dr. Vernus C. Swisher

Main address

2525 San Jacinto

Houston, TX 77002 USA

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Formerly known as

VGS, Inc.

Vocational Guidance Service, Inc.




Cause area (NTEE code) info

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program Services:  For those at a career crossroad, Career Counseling & Testing Services offer confidential sessions with a professional career counselor to assess interests and aptitudes while providing résumé assistance and skill development in interviewing and resolving work concerns.  Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Services are provided in American Sign Language by professionals skilled at teaching basic literacy and job readiness and at placing hearing-impaired people in jobs. Computer-literacy is taught in our J.H. Jones Computer & Technology Center for the Hearing Impaired.  Educational & Support Services provide classes for clients seeking educational advancement in areas such as basic literacy and GED preparation. CCR'S Job Banks and resource centers provide job search tools such as computers, fax machines, message services, phones, and coaching.  Employment Services offer everyone assistance in carrying out a targeted, comprehensive job search. Clients attend job search workshops and work one-on-one with an Employment Specialist, Case Manager or Career Counselor to find leads and gain skills such as networking, targeted résumé writing, job retention and interview techniques.  Our HP Community Technology Center makes state-of-the-art technology available to everyone needing computer or internet access or training in general internet, e-mail, and MS Office.  CRR's Homeless Outreach Program takes job search workshops, intensive case management and job development services to homeless shelters to foster transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.  H.O.Projects with Industry (formerly "Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Services") provides targeted job skill training, personalized job searches, vocational counseling and workshops for people with disabilities including persons recovering from cancer, stroke, or amputated limbs and persons coping with bi-polar disorder.  Senior Employment Services help economically-disadvantaged jobseekers over age 55 with computer training and employment assistance.  Skilled & Professional Placement helps highly-skilled and/or college-educated jobseekers identify career paths and prospective employers and teaches résumé preparation, maneuvering tight job markets, interview skills and salary negotiation.  Youth Educational Services for Careers and Career Fairs help youth ages 16-24 take stock of their interests and abilities, explore career options, define career goals, and take the steps to land an entry-level job. At-risk teens and young adults are helped to transition into the workforce or back to school  Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention & Education: CRR offers several state-licensed outpatient alternative programs that provide some 60 contact counseling hours of drug and alcohol education to help recovering men and women learn to live healthy and productive lives without drugs and to be better parents.  Men's Services focus on communications skills, grooming, and anger management.  Women's Services stress rape/family violence prevention, health/pregnancy issues, and financial and emotional independence.  Treatment services and interpreters are available for hearing-impaired clients. CRR also provides  HIV/AIDS Services with testing and confidential risk assessment, counseling for sexually transmitted diseases and  "Don't Clown Around with Drugs" assemblies to educate school children about the dangers of drugs.

Population(s) Served

Career and recovery Resources empowers job seekers with tools for successful job searches. Specialized programs address barriers to employment and improve outcomes for clients through intensive case management.

Population(s) Served
General Public/Unspecified

Adult basic literacy, computer, and life skills training services for job seekers in Harris, Waller and surrounding counties. Being empowered to read, write, use a computer, drive a car, and enter the workforce result in a boost to their self-esteem.

Population(s) Served
Other Named Groups
Substance Abusers (Drug/Alcohol Abusers)

Career Fairs to help youth age 16-21 take stock of their interests and abilities, explore career options, define career goals, and determine the steps needed to pursue higher education or land a job.

Population(s) Served
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
General Public/Unspecified

Veteran Services: These programs provide employment and housing assistance, case management, training services, and connection to VA benefits, and are all supported by our Veteran Services Business Advisory Council. Our Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP), at 2525 San Jacinto- (713) 754-7051, collaborates with many veteran-serving organizations, including the VA, to ensure that homeless veterans receive all possible assistance in re-entering the workforce and community life in general. Over 70% of these veterans come to us earning between zero and $5,000 per year. Services include job readiness training, certification, and placement for individual homeless veterans. Our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), at 2525 San Jacinto - (713) 754-7059, strives to leverage funding and our numerous community partnerships, to prevent homelessness and enhance the housing stability of very low-income veteran families. Since loss of a job is the # 1 trigger causing homelessness, this program has a strong job placement component. Our goal is to outreach to 300 low-income veteran families, to enroll 150 families, to place 100 family members in jobs, to provide Temporary Financial Assistance to 75 families, to link 100 families to new public or VA benefits, and to place 100 families in housing they can afford. To qualify, the veteran families must be homeless or at risk for homelessness and earning less than 50% of the Area Mean Family Income.) Our Returning Veterans Program, in Central Placement at 2525 San Jacinto, helps all veterans (regardless of homeless status or type of discharge) to find and retain employment. Please call 713.754.7050

Population(s) Served
U.S. Military Personnel and Their Families

Where we work

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CARF 2016

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of jobs created and maintained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Related Program

Employment Services

Number of those who successfully gained employment after counseling

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Related Program

Employment Services

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

CLIENT AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Last year CRR served more than 13,500 individuals through a variety of activities, including providing Fred Wiener Scholarships, named for our founding director. As in working with clients to enter the job market, CRR's employment services team methods include:<br/>• job readiness workshops, <br/>• career counseling, <br/>• computer training, <br/>• case management, <br/>• METRO cards, <br/>• work attire, <br/>• tools, <br/>• TWIC cards,<br/>• vocational training referrals,<br/>• and fee assistance for certifications leading to employment,<br/>• GED exam preparation, <br/>• and referral to the agency's highly respected Alternative Services program for those with substance (including alcohol) abuse issues. <br/><br/>This was accomplished through partnerships with more than 135 community organizations and employers. <br/><br/>Principal Activities: CRR's literacy and employment programs help individuals, including veterans, prepare for entry into the job market, identify employment opportunities, and learn job retention techniques. Career counseling services offer educational and vocational guidance. CRR also offers outpatient substance abuse treatment to adults. The substance abuse program is licensed by the Department of State Health Services. The agency is a collaborative member of United Way's THRIVE initiative aimed at elevating low-income workers to livable wages, self-sufficiency, and a better quality of life. Teens and older youth are served through career exploration workshops and career fairs. We provide adult outpatient substance abuse treatment and aftercare and HIV/STD testing. The specialized programs address issues of job seekers with significant or multiple barriers to employment. They include clients who are unskilled, deaf or hearing-impaired, ex-offenders, older workers, persons challenged by a disability or chronic illness, military veterans, and individuals recovering from substance use disorder. Many of the clients are economically disadvantaged and need intensive employment services with case management to overcome these obstacles. We also assist professionals who are highly skilled or possess college degrees, but need guidance to enter their chosen fields, change careers, or transfer skills to another source of employment due to layoffs. <br/><br/>

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: CRR's core programming is Employment, Veteran, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Alternative (Substance Abuse and Ex-offender), and THRIVE, a United Way collaborative focused on financial stability through employment, debt reduction, and acquiring assets. All of our core programs provide opportunities for individuals to address their current economic realities while empowering them to develop the skills and expertise necessary to acquire and sustain economic stability. Utilizing upscale training, CRR helps individuals gain an economic standard that secures their future. CRR's programs include: <br/><br/>EMPLOYMENT SERVICES: This program provides job readiness training, soft skills training/mid-level skills, career counseling, job placement, job retention, and vocational and certification programs to secure higher wages. <br/><br/>VETERAN SERVICES: This program provides veterans and their families with access to their basic food, shelter and clothing needs. Oftentimes, Veterans return to society unprepared to adapt to the civilian environment and are unable to effectively translate the skills attained during active duty to jobs that will provide them with livable wages external to the military. Through CRR, unemployed/underemployed Veterans are given the opportunity to develop the job and interpersonal skills needed to acquire livable wage jobs and enhance their quality of life. CRR's programming serves as a catalyst to move them from undesirable conditions to self-sufficiency. <br/><br/>DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING SERVICES: This program is provided by professional individuals who are hearing impaired and is the only comprehensive program of its kind in the state of Texas and possibly the nation. This program assists clients in gaining access to basic education, job skills building and resources that offer them a path to successful employment. Utilizing adaptive technology, skill building sessions which include computer skills training, communication, self-advocacy and life skills development help to empower clients to become self-sufficient and gainfully employed. <br/><br/>ALTERNATIVE SERVICES: The Substance Abuse Alternative program helps men and women to get sober and teaches them how to lead productive lives while maintaining their sobriety. CRR provides outpatient treatment that consists of individual and group counseling which helps to solidify positive life-changing patterns. Clients served through the reentry alternative program are stabilized so that they can be reunited with their family and find living wage employment, thus helping to reduce recidivism, which results ultimately in a safer community. <br/><br/>THRIVE: is a holistic approach to help low-income individuals attain financial stability through increasing income, building savings and acquiring assets. There are about 115,000 families with children with annual income ranging from $20,000-$35,000 annually.

Our organization has a strong management team who have been in the nonprofit arena for years. The management staff is overseen by Vernus C. Swisher who joined CRR as Chief Executive Officer in 1996 after a 27-year merchandising and store management career with Foley's (now Macy's) and 3 years as Executive Director of Hester House – showing outstanding leadership and administrative oversight in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. An ordained Baptist minister, he holds a BA in Social Studies & Education from Huston Tillotson College and a Doctorate of Ministry from Houston Graduate School of Theology. Mr. Swisher has strong links with United Way agencies and numerous other non-profit, government and private sector entities. He was Rotary Club of Houston's 2007-08 President, an American Leadership Forum member, Houston Food Bank Board Chair and has been honored by Houston Defender, Leadership Houston, National Women of Achievement, Texas Southern U., United Way of Greater Houston, “Who's Who in Black Houston", and, by the Mayor's Office, as Disability Advocate of the Year. With excellent staff, board and volunteer support, his leadership has enabled CRR to serve clients as a charity but operate like a business. As CEO since 1996, Dr. Swisher has extensive federal experience including oversight of programs funded by the U. S. Departments of Labor, Education and Housing & Urban Development as well as the Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts, Bureau of Prisons, American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, Social Service Block Grants, and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS.<br/>Jeff Berry, Director of Alternative Addiction Recovery Programs, has worked at CRR in various counseling and supervisory capacities since 1982 and was promoted to Director in 2000. He holds a BA degree in Criminal Justice from Southampton College, a M.Ed. in Counseling from Boston U., and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. His federal experience since 1982 includes oversight, of programs funded by the Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts, Bureau of Prisons, and several Harris County and State of Texas department.<br/>Barbara Irving currently serves as the Director of Employment and Veteran Services with Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. in Houston, TX. In this role, she is responsible for the overall management of the Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families Program and the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. Both programs provide supportive services to very low income veteran families including reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment. Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. is a 71 year old United Way of Greater Houston multi-service agency with the mission to help people identify and overcome barriers to employment. Ms. Irving has demonstrated continuous commitment to promoting excellence in the area of employment, veteran services and supportive services for individuals with barriers.

We will utilize process evaluation and outcome evaluations. Process evaluation answers the questions, "Are we completing the activities or providing the services that we believe lead to the changes we desire?" Ex: Is our program proceeding as planned? Outcome evaluation seeks to answer the question, "Is my project making a difference? Outcomes try to describe the impact of our program on the community beyond the point of service. Our Evaluation Cycle goes as follows: 1) Plan program and evaluation, 2) Implement program and begin to collect data, 3) Review Data. Are we doing what we planned? Are we effecting the need we identified, and 4) We adjust the program as data suggest; adjust evaluation to refine data collection. Our evaluation plan begins with clear goals that describe what we want to achieve. Our goal statement articulates what our program would like to accomplish in relation to a specific problem and target market. Once we get clear about the goal or goals of our program, we can define our objectives, or the steps we will take in our efforts to achieve the goal. We use the SMART method. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time specific. Next, we gather information on our outcomes and we think first about what we already have. Then, we look at information that we will need to gather, who has the information, from whom will we collect it, and the time frame in which we will collect it. If it is feasible, we use more than one strategy as one method may help compensate for the limitations of another. Some of the more familiar data collection methods are 1)Interviews, 2)Questionnaire or surveys, 3)Knowledge Assessment, 4)Observation, and 5) Focus groups. <br/>We use quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative success is measured against goals for the a) total number of persons served during the grant period; b) number of job seekers who enroll for full services; c) number of enrollees who get jobs; and d) the average wage of new hires. <br/>Qualitative evaluation starts with random audits conducted by program managers or coordinators to ensure all active client files are maintained on a current, confidential basis. We perform 30-, 60-, 90- and 180- day follow-up on our job placement clients. Our accounting staff also tracks and reports financial activity to ensure strong control compliance. Additionally, the management team meets weekly to review program outcomes vs. goals and budgets. This informal audit team consists of the CEO, Controller and Director or Manager of each program. The agency uses an outside audit firm (Carr, Riggs, and Ingram) to conduct an annual audit and issue financial reports along with their findings to our Board of Directors. The most important qualitative evaluation comes from the client. Each time a client comes in for service, he or she is invited to fill out a "Catch Me Doing Something Well" comment card based on the experience and service received on that day.<br/>

ACCOMPLISHMENTS OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS: <br/>1. Requested and received major funding from the Department of Labor (DOL) to serve homeless Veterans who have been honorably discharged. <br/>2. Requested and received major funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve homeless Veterans who were honorably discharged and their families. <br/>3. In 2013, CRR received the American Legion Homeless Outreach Award, which recognizes CRR's outstanding services and assistance which contributed immensely to the success of assistance to homeless Veterans. In 2014 and 2015, CRR again received this award.<br/>4. In 2013, CRR's CEO was presented the HCC's Black History Scholarship award for unstoppable community leadership.<br/>5. CRR seeks and receives the highest level of program funding from the Veterans Administration for its Veterans Services programs.<br/>6. CRR is guided by an excellent board that includes leading authorities in the legal profession, human resources, community services, veterans affairs, and other service providers. <br/>7. We have also enclosed a copy of our most recent audit with this proposal. This audit – as in the past three years - is a clean audit with no “ Findings", validating our status as a Premiere Agency in our field that also enjoys it's status as a low risk entity!<br/><br/>We haven't accomplished: Our goal is to place everyone that we come in contact with into jobs. Although we do a great job at placing MANY of our clients we still have others that need employment. Our goal is to increase the number of clients placed in jobs.


Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.

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Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 4/29/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Carol Helliker

Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.

Term: Jan 2015 - Nov 2016

Gary Tuma

Smart Financial Credit Union

Susan Floyd-Toups

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Marina Coryat

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Karen Jenkins

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Scott Kreinbring

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Stephan Lillie

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Bonar Luzey, II


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Hector Perez

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes


Employment Assistance, Substance Abuse Treatment, Deaf Services, Youth Career Exploration