Build Me Up: Building Career Foundations with Cristo Rey Student Interns
The Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis is part of a nationwide network of high schools that provide unique opportunities for urban students with limited education options. Part of Cristo Rey’s core mission that sets them apart is their Corporate Work Study Program. Their students spend one full work day each week in a corporate office setting, performing tasks and learning valuable professional skills to set them apart when they graduate and enter the work force. Kraus-Anderson has been a longtime corporate partner with Cristo Rey.
Brian Garcia graduated from Cristo Rey this spring, and he worked at Kraus-Anderson through its Corporate Work Study program for the past four years. Brian’s growth is both a testament to his hard work, his strong education from Cristo Rey, and the support from people like Lori Charlesworth, KA’s Office Manager and facilitator of the intern program over the past several years.
In the latest episode of Build Me Up, we talk to Kesiah Kolbow, Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program Director, Brian Garcia and Lori Charlesworth about Cristo Rey’s model, the value of high school students getting work experience, and the impressive growth of Brian since he began at KA as a first-year high school student.
About Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program
All 37 schools in the Cristo Rey network have a Corporate Work Study Program, something they consider an integral part of their students’ growth. The foundation of the program is providing a value exchange between Cristo Rey and its corporate partners. It’s important for the students to gain business skills that make them career ready, but also to be employable and add real value to the company. Cristo Rey’s corporate partners pay for a full-time, entry-level employee, with a team of students rotating in the office each day of the work week to fill that role. The funding from these corporate partners goes directly back to Cristo Rey and the students’ education.
At Kraus-Anderson, the student interns do office tasks while going through a rotation of departments to learn more about different career pathways. These roles range from accounting, to marketing, to estimating, to construction management. This gives the students opportunities to gain business skills like communication and organization, all while providing them with an immersive career foundation that is rare for a high school student. Lori, along with several other KA employees, provide mentorship and guidance to the students.
Brian’s Tremendous Growth
During Brian Garcia’s four years at Cristo Rey and KA, those around him have seen noticeable growth, particularly in his confidence and communication skills. As a shy and nervous first-year high school student, he was intimidated about approaching co-workers around the KA office. But he set out to improve, and his close partnership with Lori helped him develop the skills needed to thrive as a young professional.
KA organized challenge presentations for the Cristo Rey interns. They were each given a topic with only 30 minutes to prepare a presentation, with the intent to prepare them for impromptu meetings and presentations that may come up later on in their professional lives. Brian’s presentation on the origin of computers impressed several KAers from around the company. The confident, prepared, and articulate high school senior that stood before them was leaps and bounds ahead of the timid young man that began four years ago. His tremendous growth is a testament to the Cristo Rey education, KAers like Lori that took him under their wing, and Brian’s growth mindset that will carry him through the rest of his life.
Now a high school graduate, Brian has plans to study business in college and one day start his own company. While the class of 2020 is met with some unprecedented challenges, it is people like Brian that showcase how resilient and successful they can truly be. Tune into the Build Me Up podcast for a more in-depth discussion on Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program and Brian Garcia’s incredible growth at KA.View Comments