Grundfos Kansas City is once again partnering with Cristo Rey High School in Kansas City, Mo., to give students from low-income families the opportunity to receive a quality college-prep education they would not be able to afford otherwise.
Cristo Rey Kansas City is the only co-educational Catholic high school located in its district. As one of the 25 members of the national Cristo Rey network of high schools, the local chapter utilizes a unique work-study model in which students are required to work one day a week in order to offset 55 to 60 percent of their educational costs.
Over the summer, new students spent three weeks at the high school’s training institute to learn basic employment skills for workplace success. Grundfos HR generalist Kim McClellan volunteered with institute for the third year this summer.
In addition to teaching classes on three different subjects – labor laws, conflict resolution and leadership – McClellan also shared information about Grundfos with the students.
“In addition to teaching them about important career-related subjects, I was also able to tell them a little about our company,” McClellan said. “It helps to get them interested in working with us this fall.”
This year, four Cristo Rey students will once again be interning at Grundfos Kansas City to experience and grow accustomed to work in corporate offices. They will arrive at the Olathe facility the week following Labor Day.
Students are trained in the following professional skill sets: computers, business machines, filing and proofreading, teamwork and efficiency, communication, and decision-making.
In addition to Grundfos, more than 100 companies in Kansas and Missouri participate in Cristo Rey’s corporate work-study program. The jobs are primarily in corporate offices, as well as government and non-profit agencies in entry-level clerical or customer service positions.
“I see a lot of alumni working at the company where they were assigned as students,” said Jeff Cooper, director of Cristo Rey Kansas City.
College preparation is a major focus for Cristo Rey students. They are all required to apply for one community college, one state school and one national or supporting university in the Cristo Rey network.
Cooper said the experience that Cristo Rey students gained in the workplace greatly complemented the school’s college preparatory curriculum by reinforcing the value of an education and exposing students to numerous career options.
“The maturity and self-confidence they develop through the support and mentorship of the corporate work-study program sponsors greatly contributes to their successes in college and in life,” Cooper said. “The sponsors make a huge difference in their lives.”
McClellan said she was proud of Grundfos’ involvement with Cristo Rey.
“It’s our responsibility as an organization to understand the needs of those around us and give back to our community,” McClellan said.