Union Institute & University is a partner with “the coolest thing,” according to Ohio Governor John Kasich. That “cool thing” is the Cincinnati DePaul Cristo Rey High School Corporate Work Study program.
The national Cristo Rey Network is an urban education model with students of diverse races, religions and socioeconomic status that combines college-prep academics and a Corporate Work Study program.
“Every week two high school students work at Union in different departments learning real world skills,” said Kimbrea J. Browning, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “The students learn what it’s like to be in a work place with expectations.”
What have both students learned from the real world work environment?
Chavesse, 15, says she can’t miss work. “If I miss a class, I will make that up later. Not so at Union. They are counting on me to complete projects and move on to the next assignment.”
Jeriah, 15, thinks she has learned to voice her opinion more. “I am an introvert. Working forces me to speak up and ask questions.”
Both agree the work environment is different than the school environment.
“The school schedule is structured. At work, I am given an assignment and I work on it till completion and then get another assignment,” said Chavesse who is planning on majoring in psychology in college and hopes to play in a Women’s Professional Basketball League someday. “I have met many people that I wouldn’t have met before. It has been a great opportunity. I think I have matured because of the different situations I have been put in at Union.”
Jeriah, who plans to major in pre-law in college, finds the work place offers challenges and solutions. “I like school. But school is noisy with bells ringing and classmates talking. Work is more focused. It forces me to concentrate and not get distracted.”
One thing they both agree on is that the life skills they have learned throughout this experience will be very valuable for their futures. Jeriah noted, “I think I have gained more self-confidence.” Chavesse then added, “I have met many people that I wouldn’t have met before. It has been a great opportunity. I think I have matured because of the different situations I have been put in at Union.”