When COVID-19 shuttered schools around the world, Jeimy Javier, then a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School in Methuen, Massachusetts, worried the pandemic would also mean the end of her school’s corporate work study program.
Javier had been hoping it would give her a feel for the workplace “before I actually get into it, to help me narrow down what I would like to do in the future professionally,” she said.
It turns out that Javier and her classmates got that opportunity after all. Employees from Raytheon Technologies, a longtime partner in the program, found a way to operate virtually – delivering the same level of mentorship and work experience students had received in previous years.
“We knew Raytheon (Technologies) would find a way to keep this program moving forward, even during a pandemic, because it’s so important,” said Sister Maryalyce Gilfeather, the school’s president. She also noted that the program funds part of each participant’s tuition; all Notre Dame Cristo Rey students come from economically challenged families. Students work five days a month at partner companies including Raytheon Technologies, whose involvement in the program dates back to 2006. Since then, the company has hosted more than 200 NDCR students in several areas of the business.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, participants’ assignments included recording and monitoring actions discussed in program meetings, writing and editing team newsletters and following up on suppliers’ purchase order requests. They brought unique perspectives to problem-solving while developing their organizational skills and shadowing leaders in several departments.