Established in 2006, Cristo Rey high school Sacramento helps prepare our region’s future workforce. Workforce development is a critical topic among companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, and Cristo Rey goes beyond theory to real practice by putting high school students into real jobs through its Work-Study program.
In addition to a quality Catholic college-preparatory education, Cristo Rey gives students 1,200 work hours of work experience before they graduate — that translates to legitimate resumes and significant business contacts before they’ve even begun college. Every student from ninth to 12th grade works five days per month, gaining valuable experience throughout an array of industries.
“Our unique Work-Study program is the heart and soul of who we are,” says David Perry, Cristo Rey’s president. “We see ourselves as the entry point for all workforce development in Sacramento because we’re addressing it with high school students.”
With 37 schools nationwide, Cristo Rey has a U.S. Department of Labor agreement allowing students to participate in Work Study to offset the cost of a college-prep high school education. Covering 60 percent of the budget, the Work Study relationships between students and businesses are Cristo Rey’s financial engine: students work to contribute toward their education as well as to gain job experience.
Businesses employing Cristo Rey students are key to the program’s success. The school currently partners with more than 100 organizations throughout Sacramento but is always looking for more partners. Currently 16 more companies are needed to hire students, and Perry reminds employers that beyond benefiting students, businesses also benefit from hiring these eager workers who are prompt, professionally dressed and trained in business basics.
“We’re immensely grateful for our current business partners,” says Perry. “Without them, this brilliant, practical solution to workforce development wouldn’t exist. We welcome more businesses to join us to serve students who otherwise wouldn’t have these opportunities.”