County Executive Frank White At Summer Training

Training Institute Teaches New Students Job Skills
Posted on 08/04/2017
Frank White and Marie Dispenza

One hundred and twenty-three urban Kansas City teens took their first steps to learn vital skills for the workplace over the summer. Sponsored by Royals Charities, Cristo Rey Kansas City’s Summer Training Institute aimed to prepare each student for a work-study assignment that is part of his or her college-prep high school education.

Jackson County Executive and former Kansas City Royal Frank White closed the two-week institute.  White’s message underscored an important workplace value:  members of strong teams know their role and its contribution on and off the field.

During the two-week institute, incoming students participated in seminars on topics as far-reaching as workplace introductions to drilling and practicing on Microsoft Office. When students head back to class for the 2017-18 school year, they get the extra-ordinary benefit of using these skills as they build a four-year resume while still in high school.

In 2000, 45 percent of U.S. teens – aged 16-19 – had jobs. By 2015, teen employment dropped to 32 percent. In this lost era for youth employment, millions of teens missed invaluable work experience. Economists estimate that pre-recession employment rates for this age group would have provided an additional $7.8 billion in employment taxes for the federal government.

The students of Cristo Rey are beating these odds. In addition to four years of college prep courses, each works one day a week at one of over 100 corporate partner locations. Work-study partner fees underwrite approximately half of the cost of each student’s private school tuition.

By working in professional settings – banking, health care, and other professional services – students contribute to the cost of education while gaining exposure to workplace role models. The program helps them make connections from classrooms to the world of work.

“Every day, we see how this program transforms our students,” said Director of Corporate Work Study Ted Koppen
. “By working side-by-side with college-educated professionals, our students begin to make the connections for staying in school, getting a degree and making a better life for themselves.”

Cristo Rey’s
Corporate Work Study Program
acts as an employee leasing agent and handles all W-4, I-9, Workers’ Compensation, FICA and other employer mandates. Students work in job-sharing teams of four and cover a standard business week, Monday through Friday, during a 10-month school year. The academic schedule is structured so that students are available to work without missing class.

About Cristo Rey Kansas City
Cristo Rey Kansas City is part of the network of 32 Cristo Rey High Schools across the United States. The schools break the cycle of poverty through education and work study experience. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, the school serves a culturally diverse student body with demonstrated economic need. Founded in 2006, Cristo Rey Kansas City reports that 100 percent of its graduates have been accepted to college or university.
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