WTTF recently covered GFF grantee Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep’s Work Study Program in the article, “How Students in Waukegan Juggle High School with Corporate Jobs.”
“The Cristo Rey model is, I think, a real innovative approach to try to get quality education to students,” said Mike Boyle, director of the Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University. He says Catholic education often comes with some form of work.
But beyond paying for a private school education, the corporate work-study program also helps students earn work experience at an early age.
“They want to learn. They’re so excited to be in a business, to have a day when they’re in the real field learning, away from school, and take what they learn at school and bring it here. They could do more than most people would think,” said Sue Shamberg of ACCO Brands.
Senior Yesenia Gonzalez says working means learning another important skill. “Time management. I think that’s one of many skills you learn here at Cristo Rey,” she said. “Students only here three or four days out of the entire week, so that means that even if we are taking higher-level classes, we’re still required to learn all of that within those days.”
In 2019, 80% of CRSM grads enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program — up from 21% in 2004. And 68% of students graduate college — up from 17% 15 years ago, when the school began.