CWSP: FTEs Leading the Way.

ICA Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) has found a recipe for success in fundraising. One full time equivalent (FTE) position is filled four different students, who rotate through work days at the office during the week. Four students make a full team but partners can also sponsor with half teams and quarter teams.


“The ultimate goal is 100% of our students funded, whether the company that’s employing them is paying, or donors sponsor the cost for a student to work at a non-profit. 100% means no student is going out and working for free. The [Cristo Rey] Network allows some leeway. The template is that 90% is funded. Our goal is always 100%because that’s more money for the school. Right now we’re at nearly 95%. We consider ourselves a top performer in the network,” said Bill Olinger, Director and CEO of the Corporate Work Study Program. With a consistent, successful renewal rate of 90% ICA Cristo Rey has a dependable fundraising contributor in CWSP. 


To what can we attribute the strong renewal rate? Bill Olinger said it’s his team: “We prepare supervisors before students get there. We’re very honest, letting them know if they put in the time at the beginning they’ll get buy-in and great returns for the rest of the year. A company wants to see it succeed as well. Having a dedicated direct supervisor on the floor with [the student worker] makes it a success.” In the CWSP office we have the opportunity for conversations with students, coaching them through challenges in the workplace. Having a dedicated team that’s been here for a number of years has been a key factor as well. 


Also, the training CWSP provides, particularly over a student’s first summer before she begins classes, sets students up for success with tools for office work--both hard skills (e.g. working with Excel) and soft skills (e.g. chatting in the elevator with a colleague). Ultimately, all of these contribute to the successful performance of the student worker. Our students perform in the top third of Network schools: currently 95% of our student body is evaluated as good or outstanding by their supervisor.