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Partnership Teaches Life Skills

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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.”

To learn more about the Cincinnati DePaul Cristo Rey High School Corporate Work Study program, visit this link. If you would like to learn more about Union’s mission and values, visit https://myunion.edu/.

Spotlight on Dr. Donna Gruber

By | Faculty & Staff, Latest News, News, Union Institute & University | No Comments

1. What excites you about being a part of higher education?

So much excites me about higher education, because it is unlike any other profession. The work can be challenging but it is meaningful and always interesting. No two days are ever the same, and I have the opportunity to work with all kinds of people from all walks of life and that is very energizing to me. The colleagues who I have had the pleasure of working with all have a passion for their work and I enjoy being a part of that because I not only learn a lot from them but I see how their love of what they do helps students. Overall it’s that calling to make an impact on someone’s life, which is not about financial or commercial gain that makes higher education so exciting.

2. What attracted you to become a part of the Union family?

 I was definitely attracted to the mission of Union. I have not always been 100% sure about what I wanted to do with my life but I’ve always been sure I wanted to help others find their opportunities in this world and Union’s mission clearly and confidently speaks to that. I also immediately connected with staff and faculty, and you are right it feels very much like a family. A family who has a goal of engaging, enlightening and empowering others, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

3. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?

 I can honestly say working in higher education is exactly where I want to be. I would love to experience different roles within higher education of course but, outside of that if I could do anything just for fun it would be quality control for Cheetos. I just read an article about that yesterday and every four hours a team of quality control inspectors samples the product. I thought, that sounds like a fantastic job, every four hours eating Cheetos?? Sign me up!!

4. What surprises people about you?

 I’m not sure if too many things surprise people about me because I tend to be pretty transparent, but I suppose if I had to pick one thing it would be that I was a beekeeper for several years. I was perhaps not the best beekeeper, because I could never get the hang of getting my hives through the winter, but a beekeeper none the less.

5. What is your favorite book, and why?

 This is a difficult question. I have so many books that I love so much, the list could go on and on. However, there are two books I re-read about once a year just because and will never part with my worn out paperback copies – The History of Love by Nicole Krause and Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. Although both books are basically about long lost loves, The History of Love is just a beautifully written story which incorporates war and intrigue and Still Life with Woodpecker comically manages to incorporate aliens and outlaws, so who can resist all of that?

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