Winning the COVID-19 Corporate Work Shuffle

It is no small feat, the business of keeping 400 student-workers on-the-job because many corporations are still working remotely and cannot have students come in for internships. But, through pivoting, innovating and firm resolve; 94% of students have been placed in jobs for the 2021-22 school year.

“This is a huge testament to the great work our corporate work study program team has done,” says Dr. Michael Odiotti, principal. The ranks of working students are up 40 percent from last year when the pandemic walloped the workforce.

“Pivoting and meticulous protocols were put in action from the earliest days of the pandemic,” says Brian Weinberg, Director of the Corporate Work Study. “The program continues to adapt, innovate and meet the needs of our partners and prepare our students to be flexible, agile and experience meaningful work.”

Many of the loyal standby companies, Abbott, AbbVie and Discover Financial Services, are on board again this year, along with a host of non-profits, arts centers and elementary schools who are providing jobs for the students. These include: The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. (AAAASF), the Evanston Arts Center and the Ragdale Foundation.

In an effort to provide onsite support to students who are working remotely, CRSM has transformed its chapel into a corporate board room of sorts with about 30 students checking in daily for their nine-to-five offsite work experience. More students are scattered in conference rooms and any available space throughout the Waukegan school.

Discover came to the school to train the more than 20 students who work with them on how to work remotely and gave them all company laptops.

“We adapted to provide a professional environment for students to do their jobs knowing from last year about that the challenges of working from home, the distractions and the limited WIFI,” says Weinberg.

Over the summer, a handful of employers including Abbott, AbbVie, Baxter International Inc., Hollister Co., Snap-on Credit, First Midwest Bank. ABIS and ITW employed 45 students full-time.

Through the Corporate Work Study Program, CRSM and Cristo Rey schools around the country operate on a unique model in which students receive a college-preparatory education and spend five, eight-hour days a month working at local corporations earning over 40 percent of their tuition. The internships take students out of their comfort zones, build social capital and experience interacting with adults in a professional work environment..

For more information on becoming a job partner with Cristo Rey St. Martin contact Brian Weinberg at: (o) 224-219-9724 (m) 847-769 -1751 BrianWeinberg@cristoreystmartin.org.