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How Work Study Works

Frequently Asked Questions 

Cristo Rey’s Work Study Program gives Sacramento area employers a unique, but proven, means to simultaneously add additional hands-on work within their organizations while helping low-income underserved youth get a college preparatory education.  Participating Work Study Sponsors pay a fee to CRHSS Work Study, Inc. (a non-profit corporation affiliated with Cristo Rey Sacramento High School) for each student assigned to the sponsor’s work-site.  The fee for a team of 4 students is $32,000 for ten months.  All monies received underwrite most of the cost of each student’s education.  

What is Cristo Rey High School Sacramento and how is it different than other high schools?

Cristo Rey High School Sacramento (CRHSS) is a private co-educational college-preparatory school sponsored by the Jesuits and Sisters of Mercy for under-served students in the Sacramento region. All CRHSS students’ families are at or below the federal poverty line, and 98% of students qualify for the Federal Free and Federal Reduced Lunch program. Ultimately, the goal of CRHSS is to send each and every graduate to college.  Ninety-seven percent of the first fourteen graduating classes (2010-2023) have been accepted to college. CRHSS is a member of the Cristo Rey Network, which consists of 38 schools across the nation giving college prep education to low-income urban youth.

How do these students afford a private education?

The Work Study Program provides the means.  Each student, beginning freshman year, works five days per month in businesses or other entities throughout the Sacramento region. These organizations pay a fee that offsets nearly 60% of the cost of the student’s education. (Most of the remaining costs are covered by contributions.)  Currently over 100 corporations, businesses, foundations, individual donors and non-profits are CRHSS Work Study Sponsors. In addition to offsetting the cost of their education, students break down the financial and social barriers that exist for low-income students wishing to obtain a college education.

Do students get paid directly?

No.  Companies, foundations and individuals financially sponsor a team of 4 students for $32,000.00 for ten months that is paid directly to CRHSS Work Study Inc., a 509(a)(3) public charity.  Some companies require fewer students than a team of 4.  Others want to help the program by contributing an amount that will fund one or more students to work at a nonprofit.  The sponsorship amount for a team of less than four students is prorated based on the number of students you require. The sponsorship offsets most of the cost of the student’s education.

Do students miss class when they work?

Each student has an assigned workday Monday through Thursday. Students’ classes are not offered on their workday and they do not miss any class time. Fridays are rotated through the four grade levels. Both the school year and school day are extended to ensure students receive the maximum amount of class time. 

Are high school students allowed to work during school hours?

All schools within the Cristo Rey Network have special exemption from the US Department of Labor to employ 14 and 15 year olds. Older students do not require an exemption. All CRHSS students must be 14 years of age and have a valid California work permit (issued by the school) before they begin work. CRHSS has numerous guidelines and checks to ensure that the students’ worksites are safe and provide a good learning experience. For more detailed information about the DOL requirements please contact our office.

As a sponsoring business, what responsibilities do I have?

The 3 biggest responsibilities are:

  • Provide a positive working environment for the student(s).

  • Provide a supervisor(s) who believes in the program and the success of Cristo Rey students.

  • Provide meaningful work for the students and explain to them the importance of their role.

What hours do students work?

Students work approximately six and one half (6.5) to seven and one half (7.5) hours per day.  Vans leave campus at 8:15am each morning; drop off between 8:30am and 9:15am at the company location.  Pickup time is between 3:30pm and 4:45pm, depending on your company’s location and return to campus between 5:00pm and 5:30pm. 

What type of jobs do students perform at the work sites?

Typically, all students perform similar entry-level clerical duties: answering phones, sorting and delivering mail, scanning and faxing documents, data entry, filing and running office errands.  Often, students prove capable of additional duties and take those on after a period of time.  Students who work in clinical hospital atmospheres often assist nurses, greet patients, and help with paperwork.  Detailed job descriptions are on file for each type of organization in which Cristo Rey students have worked.  They are available on request.

How do students get to work?

On their assigned workday, students are transported to work in school operated vans.  All van drivers are employees of CRHSS Work Study, Inc. and meet all necessary requirements to be employed by the school.

Do students choose where they go to work?

After considering students’ skill levels and interests and the skill sets needed by our sponsors, the WS staff will determine where students are placed. Juniors and seniors are directed towards future career goals.

Do parents have direct contact with their student’s supervisors?

All communication with sponsors and supervisors are made through the Work Study office.  If parents need to contact their child, they must contact the Work Study office for assistance.

Is there a dress code?

CRHSS students are held to strict standards.  All students are required to be in uniform at all times. Students wear a button down shirt or polo, dress slacks or skirt, and dress shoes. Work uniforms may be adjusted to suit the culture of the worksite and accommodate a variety of job duties.

How are students prepared for their Work Study jobs?

New students attend a rigorous program called “Summer Institute” that prepares students to go work.  Students receive soft skill development including business ethics and etiquette, communication skills and team building.  Students also learn basic clerical skills including filing, telephone answering and records management. CRHSS also provides targeted on and offsite training for students throughout the school year.

Is supervising a CRHSS student different than supervising another employee?

There are obvious differences between supervising a teenager than another entry-level employee. We ask that students be treated as much like employees as possible. Our students are like sponges and absorb so much that you teach them. They are grateful for the opportunity you give them. We know that supervisors take their role as mentors seriously.  Therefore, we offer opportunities for training throughout the year, including our yearly Supervisor Training, which gives supervisors an opportunity to share best practices.

How do I sign our company up?

Contact Debbie Woodsford at (916) 400-3386 or by email We’d love to give you a tour of our campus and introduce you to some of our amazing students! You too can be a part of The School That Works!