There's a new high school in town with a new program. Earlier this year ... we took you to day one at the De Paul Cristo Rey School. The independent Catholic school has a unique work-study plan. Local 12 News Reporter Jeff Hirsh has a progress report on one student we met that day -- to see how he's doing on the job.
Macy's corporate headquarters, downtown Cincinnati-home to 700 employees for the nationwide retailing giant ... including Eric Deleon. Eric's new here. He's also all of 14 years old and a high school freshman: "I have all A's and B's right now."
Eric is a co-op student ... something usually reserved for college kids. But Eric attends De Paul Cristo Rey High School ...an independent Catholic school which opened in August. art of the school's mission ... a private school education for kids who could not otherwide afford it. Besides academics, that means an introduction to the world of work. Being high schoolers, much of that work is entry level clerical: "Is it okay if I use a red piece of paper? Red is perfect."
But everybody has to start somewhere ... what the school calls accumulative advantage: "The idea that with opportunity it's not always exciting or glitzy, like you see on television, but it's the day to day discipline of showing up, and with that opportunities are going to come your way if you work hard."
Macy's is one of 25 local businesses and nonprofit organizations which hire De Paul Cristo Rey students. The salary the students earn goes to the school to help pay their tuition. And it's not like the students can goof off. They're graded and receive academic credit and the sense of being in an organization: Jim Wagner is Senior Store Designer. "They're part of the family now. They're totally immersed and engaged with what we do here at Macy's."
Cristo Rey students attend class four days a week, and work at job sites the other day. While most of the work is clerical, employers try to tailor the jobs to a student's interest. Eric, for example, wants to be a graphic engineer: "Like when they design the buildings. I got to help design a visitors center for Herald Square earlier this year."
De Paul Cristo Rey only has a freshman class this year of about ninety students, all of whom have work-study jobs. The school plans to add a new grade each year until they have a nine-through-twelve program.