DePaul Cristo Rey High School connects the business community to a budding workforce
DePaul Cristo Rey is a Catholic college-prep high school serving families that want a private preparatory education for their children, but need significant financial assistance.
Helping to offset a student’s tuition is the school’s Corporate Work Study Program, which in some ways resembles a temp agency. Students are employees of the school and companies lease the services of students. The money they earn is enough to cover half of the cost of their education. The other half is taken care of through state tuition vouchers, fundraising and very small contributions from the students’ families.“I find the students are proud of the fact that they are able to help their families in this way,” says Sister Jeanne Bessette, president and CEO of DePaul Cristo Rey. “They’re proud that they are taking care of themselves, that they’re contributing. They’ve got real skin in the game.”
Establishing good habits
Students go to work one day per week, gaining exposure to a broad range of industries and professions that they might not otherwise know existed.
By age 15, when students are in their sophomore year, the school helps them write their first resume. By the time students are seniors, those resumes have four years of professional work experience.“These are lifelong work habits, a lifelong mindset about being part of a highly productive team and contributing to that team’s success,” Bessette says. “The students basically learn how to be the region’s youngest professionals.”
Among the employers helping these students get their professional footing is Huntington. She says banks generally don’t hire someone who is under the age of 18. However, the Cristo Rey Network has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that allows partners across the U.S. to hire students from age 14, and Huntington has identified departments where students can work and still be in compliance with the rules.
“We have found and are nurturing wonderful relationships with the Cincinnati business community. Huntington is a great example. Their people are invested in the students. The organization is committed to helping our school grow and providing us with opportunities,” she says.
About the organization
Name: DePaul Cristo Rey High School
City: DePaul Cristo Rey High School in Cincinnati is part of the Cristo Rey Network of 35 schools across the U.S.
Phone: (513) 861-0600
Mission: DePaul Cristo Rey High School transforms students into high school and college graduates by helping them realize their full potential.
How you can help
The school has numerous volunteer opportunities for professionals or those who can help with administrative and event functions. It also accepts donations.