As Cristo Rey St. Viator prepares for its third academic year this fall, administrators are busy lining up more business partners. It’s all part of the Cristo Rey model, which integrates four years of rigorous academics with professional work experience to help students afford their private Catholic education.

Mr. Pablo Macias works on student resumes.

Associate Deborah Perez, Director of the Corporate Work Study Program, and Mary Mai, Director of Business Partnerships, held a virtual coffee break Monday to introduce the program to potential business partners.

They drew an impressive group of Las Vegas stakeholders. In attendance were professionals from government agencies, banks, the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada, the Diocese of Las Vegas, a local university, law firms and advertising agencies.

Margaret Mai reinforces computer skills needed for the workplace with a student.

They also drew Sr. Phyllis Sikora, OP, Vice President of Mission Integration for the Dignity Health – St. Rose Hospital System in Nevada. The large, faith-based network includes three acute care hospitals, four neighborhood hospitals, six wellness centers, medical clinics and offices.

During the visit, guests heard from current employers, including Patrick Miller, President and COO of MGM Resorts International, and a CRSV board member.

“He shared his experience as a founding partner with eight freshmen reporting to two different MGM properties,” Deborah said, “and the transformational opportunities provided to the students — and the supervisors and co-workers that welcomed them.”

Guests also heard from current students, who shared their stories of personal growth and confidence in communicating with adults, giving them good preparation for college.

Associate Deborah Perez with students from Cristo Rey St. Viator, before the pandemic.

One of them, Isabelle, said that ideally she would would like to work in education or hospitality, “but really, I’m open to any job because I know I will be able to learn something new.”

Overall, the meeting reinforced  CRSV’s innovative work study program. Not only does it give students the means of financing their education, but it gives them 1:1 access to technology, smaller class sizes and a focus on college admissions.