Innovative Corporate Work Study Program

Since 2007, Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School has been making a difference in the lives of urban youth and their families through our innovative Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Our students graduate with more than a diploma: the CWSP gives them a resume with four years of real-world work experience, not to mention invaluable business skills like computer proficiency, professional communication, and business etiquette. Through the support of our corporate partners, Holy Family Cristo Rey students have the opportunity to work in fields like banking, accounting, marketing, healthcare, law, and more.

The Corporate Work Study Program, as Cristo Rey founder John P. Foley, S.J., would say, is the "secret sauce" that makes our model work. Students take ownership of their education and their future, since their work helps to offset the cost of their tuition. Our students are motivated to succeed because they are doing meaningful work which will prepare them for a bright future. In turn, our corporate partners get more than just a cost-effective option for filling entry-level positions; they have the ability to transform our community and break the cycle of generational poverty by opening their doors to students who would otherwise not have the opportunity.

CWSP Staff

Mr. Kirk Mitchell

Director of Corporate Work Study Program

Mrs. Melissa Oates

Associate Director for Corporate Relations

Ms. Annette Foxworth

CWSP Coordinator

Mrs. Tra'Vonna Heard

CWSP Coordinator

Ms. Cheryl Hunter

Bus Driver

Mr. Willie Thompson

Bus Driver

Mr. Kenneth Ward

Bus Driver

CWSP Overview

As part of the Cristo Rey Network, Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School empowers students to pursue higher education, instills the confidence they need to thrive, and provides invaluable professional experience through the unique and innovative Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP).

The CWSP functions as an employment agency within Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School. We are based on the Full Time Equivalency (FTE) model, with 4 students working a 5 day work week. Students work from approximately 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For a competitive annual fee, corporate partners contract with the CWSP to receive one Work Study Team of four students for a contract period that spans from mid-August to mid-May. Students are employees of the CWSP, not the corporate partner, and receive a grade for their participation.

The CWSP trains students to perform entry-level work, such as answering phones, maintaining files, sorting and delivering mail, scanning and faxing documents, performing data entry, and creating documents with Microsoft Office. Our Summer Bridge Program, held each summer, provides them with classes in business communication, office technology, and professional etiquette.

All payroll, legal, tax, logistics, and transportation issues are handled by CWSP. The US Department of Labor has given the Cristo Rey Network approval to operate the work study program.

Typical Responsibilities & Tasks by Job Placement

  • Mail delivery and copy room support (including use of large scale copy machines and cutting & binding equipment)

  • Backup phone duty for main reception

  • Maintain schedule for appointment rooms; prepare rooms for meetings

  • Manage inventory of office supplies (copy paper, ink cartridges, pen/pencils, snacks, etc.) and restock supplies as needed

  • Scan and file documents (such as invoices, purchase orders, legal documents, etc.)

  • Prepare documentation for shipping

  • Research projects (including use of Google Apps and Microsoft Office)

  • Carry out smaller projects/duties as assigned by the supervisor or other staff

  • Equipment allocation, reallocation, and inventory

  • Installing new software

  • Clean and remove viruses from hard drives

  • Tracking team metrics; presentation development

  • Ordering equipment; liaising with staff on requests

  • Fielding basic help desk requests and updating tickets

  • Creating accounts for new and existing employees

  • Troubleshooting and researching errors

  • Assist technicians with projects as assigned

  • Create new hire packets and assist with orientation

  • Filing HR information, including preparing files and filling boxes for archiving

  • Process interview and new hire paperwork

  • Distribute and track evaluation forms

  • PeopleSoft data management: filing, processing of new hires and terminations

  • Process new employee security passes and documents

  • Take meeting notes during phone and in-person interviews

  • Help clean up and organize transitional workspaces

  • File trade confirms and trading tickets

  • Scan credit documents and ensure completeness of credit files; prepare batches for off-site distribution

  • Check transactions in off-site employee accounts: open statements, ID documents, code, scan and batch documents for shipment

  • Assist in processing new employee Securities Registration and existing employee continuing education

  • Invoice processing, data organization for AP/AR, and e-filing

  • Extensive spreadsheet work in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets

  • Training and use of procurement systems

  • Data entry of purchase orders or invoices

  • Assist with processing of accounts payable (verify vendor invoice information and attach checks)

  • Assist in processing of expense reports

  • Allocate phone bill across departments

  • Check incoming invoices; enter data into spreadsheet and circulate for approval

  • Scan and file documents (such as invoices, purchase orders, legal documents, etc.)

  • Alphabetize and organize files such as insurance certificates, requisitions, and supplier invoices

  • Reconcile checkbook in QuickBooks

  • Researching past payments and analyzing workflows

  • Contract Management: contract review, identify signees, ship in accordance with instructions to appropriate signee and track to ensure compliance with contract terms and processes

  • Maintain master customer contract database and related stipulations

  • Case Status: Access case management system, review case documents, complete all steps necessary to update case file status

  • Gather related reports and correspondence to support fulfillment of subpoenas; organize, scan, and index files to compile information to respond to requests

  • Manage highly confidential documentation for pending cases

  • Collect and organize patient information

  • Support patient discharge interviews

  • Confirm patient appointments

  • Track vaccination records

  • Restock exam rooms

  • Manage reception responsibilities (such as greeting and checking in patients)

  • Data entry and general administrative tasks

  • Revise and edit policy procedures

  • Redact confidential or sensitve information from files

  • Auditing for HIPAA compliance

  • Prepare presentation materials

  • Assist with client events (name tags, marketing folders, etc.)

  • Write social media posts and provide social media support

  • Data entry associated with sales operations

  • Research leads, background, industry data

  • Salesforce campaign record maintenance and management

  • Website development (intranet site and updates)

  • Internal and external communications support: blog posts, interviews, proofreading, graphics work, copy editing, translation, etc.

  • Work with sales team to gather data, design reports, and generate reports

  • Modify report design, as needed, to best serve sales team

  • Extract customer call data from client system; build report to summarize and analyze data

  • Analyze subset of customer service calls: document conversation and wait time, determine reason for customer call

  • Update customer order in client system; coordinate shipment and timeline for delivery and communicate to customers

  • Review website to ensure proper product information and images utilized

  • Send client product samples to sales representatives and record within client system

Is there an age requirement for scholars to participate?
Yes, the U.S. Department of Labor requires that students be at least 14 years old in order to participate in the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP).

Do all Holy Family Cristo Rey scholars go to work?
All Holy Family Cristo Rey scholars are required to participate in CWSP. Through CWSP, scholars contribute to the cost of their education, in addition to acquiring valuable work experience and skills.

What are the advantages of CWSP for scholars?
Through CWSP, scholars help to offset a portion of the cost of their education. In addition, scholars learn the value of work, and acquire real-world contacts, experience, and skills that will help them through college and beyond.

Do scholars get to choose where they work?
No. Scholars are interviewed and evaluated by CWSP staff, who then assign student teams to job sites, taking into consideration both the skill-level required for the job and the particular interests and skills of each scholar.

Can parents/families contact the company where their child works?
No. All communications to corporate partners are made by the CWSP office at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School.

Is there a dress code?
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Yes. All scholars are required to wear their school uniform to work, and must adhere to the dress code at all times, unless the corporate partner mandates a different uniform/dress code.

What kind of work will scholars do?
Most scholars perform entry-level clerical work. They answer telephones, maintain files, sort and deliver mail, scan and fax documents, perform data entry, and create documents with Microsoft Office. Specific job descriptions differ on a partner-by-partner basis. Scholars are expected to meet or exceed the level of professionalism and dedication demanded of their adult colleagues at the workplace.

How are scholars prepared for their CWSP jobs?
All incoming freshmen and transfer students attend a rigorous Summer Bridge Program before beginning their first CWSP assignment. Training includes:

  • Basic computer skills and Microsoft Word & Excel
  • Standard office equipment training
  • Office ettiquette
  • Positive first impressions in the workplace
  • Phone skills
  • Filing and document processing
  • Confidentiality and ethics in the workplace
  • Workplace safety

Scholars also receive ongoing feedback, performance reviews, and training from partners and CWSP staff throughout the school year.

Who supervises the scholars at work?
An on-site supervisor at the corporate partner will guide and support scholars at work. Holy Family Cristo Rey CWSP staff will coordinate with on-site supervisors to provide the necessary guidance, training, and care that scholars will need to succeed in the workplace.

How do scholars get to work?
CWSP provides transportation for all scholars to and from their job placement.

When do scholars work?
A team of four scholars shares one full-time job. Each scholar works five full days per month. The schedule is structured so that no scholar misses classes in order to work. The program runs concurrently with Holy Family Cristo Rey's academic calendar, beginning in August and running through mid May. Scholars do not work during school breaks, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break.

Do scholars get paid directly?
No. Corporate partners pay an annual fee to the Holy Family Cristo Rey CWSP office for each team of four scholars. This fee is then applied directly and proportionately to each scholar's educational costs. Scholars may have the opportunity, however, on a partner-by-partner basis to work during school holidays and in the summer, in which case the CWSP office will process the payment, and pass on the earnings directly to scholars.

What are the advantages of hiring a Holy Family Cristo Rey scholar?
The CWSP is a cost-effective solution for businesses that need entry-level work. Since scholars are employed by the CWSP, businesses save time and money on the hiring process, taxes, health benefits, and other employment-related expenses. Employing scholars also boosts employee diversity, supports the local community, and helps build Birmingham's future workforce.

What kind of work can scholars perform?
Scholars generally perform entry-level work. They answer phones, maintain files, sort and deliver mail, scan and fax documents, perform data entry, and create documents with Microsoft Office. Some of our scholars are bilingual and may be able to help with translation. As scholars develop, they are able to handle more complex projects and tasks such as providing IT support or completing medical assessments for patients.

How do scholars get to work each week?
CWSP provides transportation for all scholars to and from their job placement.

How are scholars prepared for their CWSP jobs?
All incoming freshmen and transfer students attend a rigorous Summer Bridge Program before beginning their first CWSP assignment. Training includes:

  • Basic computer skills and Microsoft Word & Excel
  • Standard office equipment training
  • Office ettiquette
  • Positive first impressions in the workplace
  • Phone skills
  • Filing and document processing
  • Confidentiality and ethics in the workplace
  • Workplace safety

Scholars also receive ongoing feedback, performance reviews, and training from partners and CWSP staff throughout the school year.

Who supervises the scholars at work?
An on-site supervisor assigned by the corporate partner will guide and support scholars at work. CWSP staff will collaborate with on-site supervisors to provide the necessary guidance and training that scholars need to succeed in the workplace.

Is it possible to hire the scholars during school breaks?
Yes, it is possible to hire the scholars during certain school breaks (Christmas and summer). School break or summer employment can be arranged through the CWSP office.

What are the responsibilities of a corporate partner?
Partners have the following responsibilities:

  1. Provide a positive working environment for each scholar, with clear instructions and regular feedback.
  2. Assign an on-site supervisor who believes in the program to oversee the scholars.
  3. Identify meaningful work for the scholars and communicate the importance of their role.
  4. Obtain a Child Labor Certificate by visiting www.labor.alabama.gov.

Are there guarantees to ensure the success of the program?
Every scholar will receive one academic credit for the work study program. CWSP staff members monitor scholar performance through daily time cards completed by scholars and supervisors. Every scholar is evaluated on his/her performance twice during the school year. Although it rarely happens, scholars can be replaced if there are any serious issues or if work performance does not meet expectations.

What if we do not have a full-time position available, but still want to participate?
Our CWSP staff would be happy to work with you to arrange a team of scholars that fits the needs of your business. Please contact us at 205.263.0137 for further information.

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