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Shaping the Professional Path for Students

Through the Corporate Work Study Program, students work in job-sharing teams of four and are paired with local companies based on interests and skill sets. Students work five full days per month within normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 am-4 pm), and academic schedules are structured so students are able to work without missing any classes.

Assuming the role of an employee-leasing agency, the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) has streamlined the process for employing students. Rather than being on the payroll of the employing organization, students are employees of a separately incorporated CWSP, which the sponsoring organization pays quarterly, annually or monthly for the services of the students.

Students perform a range of work from administrative to research. Some students already work in leading-edge jobs; for instance, Cristo Rey Jesuit students at Crate & Barrel help manage the company’s intranet website for Spanish-speaking employees. Students at the law firm O’Keefe, Lyons & Hynes, LLC, a long-time Cristo Rey employer in Chicago, conduct research on the Internet to support real estate tax challenges.

The CWSP delivers many real-world educational benefits for its students. The program has evolved into an innovative means of providing students with crucial hands-on, professional work experience. As a result of working in a business environment, students create positive relationships in the business and professional communities, build their resources, acquire valuable job experience and marketable skills, develop a network of business contacts, gain exposure to a wide range of career opportunities, inculcate a strong work ethic, and increase self-esteem.

Legal and Labor Implications

The Cristo Rey Jesuit CWSP operates as an employee leasing agent. The students are employees of the program, not the corporate partner. In addition, the Corporate Work Study Program handles all payroll, W-4, I-9 compliance, Workers’ Compensation, FICA, FUTA and other employer concerns for the students.

The fee charged to each corporate partner for student work may be deducted as a business expense, not as a donation.

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