VDHS Corporate Work Study Program considers options for its student workers in the uncertain age of COVID-19

By Eduardo Landa , Staff Writer

For the past 18 years, a Verbum Dei High School education has triumphantly featured its Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). This program has secured all students a job placement, work experience, and the opportunity to enrich themselves in the culture of corporate America.

Due to COVID-19, there is an extraordinary amount of uncertainty about how CWSP will be successful next year. Verbum Dei is working with the 35 Cristo Rey Network schools across the country by the minute, to ensure that future students have the same opportunity.

“As we prepare for students to return to work in the fall, we will require that our corporate partners send CWSP their ‘return to work plan’ so that we can ease the concern and worry that many students and parents may encounter when returning to work,” said Cristina Cuellar, Vice President of Programming, Corporate Work Study Program.

“The safety and well-being of our students is our primary concern, and we want to ensure we are taking the necessary steps for a healthy return to work,” said Cuellar. “We are still working on the logistics of a CWSP start date, transportation, digital timecards, and CWSP Readiness.”

COVID-19 has impacted future prospects that will attend Verbum Dei and the possibility of getting an internship with CWSP partners.

“COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty for myself and for my Verb brothers,” said junior Joshua Reyes. “However, I am hopeful that next year will be able to continue to strengthen the relationships with the businesses where we intern.”

“This virus has hit [low-income] communities the hardest. Kids from Watts and other surrounding communities will enter their CWSP job placement with more adversity,” said Lorenz Willis, CWSP Program Manager. “The discomfort that CWSP partners or students will encounter post-Covid-19 will be challenging.”

“Our plans are changing daily because there remains so much uncertainty due to Covid-19,” said Cuellar. “As our city opens back up, we will have additional information [planned] for our return to CWSP.”

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