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Partner Profile: EY Stays Involved During Pandemic

by Taylor Sticha, Manager of Corporate Engagement

Almost nine months into remote learning, Cristo Rey students are mastering what it means to be a virtual learner and worker. To support student training and keep students engaged with the professional networks they regularly experience first-hand at their work study job placements, the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) has turned to many of our valued corporate partners to enrich virtual programming.

EY, CWSP partner since 2013, has long served as a model for broad corporate engagement. In addition to hosting a team of student workers, EY has consistently nominated executives to Cristo Rey’s Board of Directors. Last spring, When it became clear that Cristo Rey’s signature event, VIVA, could not celebrated in-person, EY immediately pivoted a VIVA event sponsorship to a donation benefiting the COVID-19 Emergency Fund - providing our students and their families immediate relief. Then, over the summer, a team of EY employees contributed pro bono consulting services to evaluate remote work opportunities across a range of industries and job functions.

More broadly, EY employees continually seek to engage with students through meaningful mentoring and volunteer experiences, especially within EY’s Latino Professional Network. At the start of the current school year, the CWSP team circulated a menu of engagement opportunities to partner companies, hoping to expose students to professionals and reconnect with employees who miss seeing students around their offices. Nearly 60 EY employees jumped at the opportunity to coach freshmen students during their final project presentations for their PowerPoint Class.

On the morning EY employees volunteered, students were put into virtual breakout rooms with another student and one or two volunteers serving as coaches. Students presented their decks to the virtual audience, making sure to introduce themselves, utilize the slides appropriately and give a clear and concise description of their topic. The experience was an important lesson for the freshmen students, most of whom are new to the Microsoft Office, new to public speaking…and of course, new to virtual presentations!

As the CWSP looks ahead to the workplace of the near future, support and input from corporate partners has become more vital than ever. EY has partnerships with Cristo Rey schools in 11 cities, and they are committed to preparing their student workers, not only their return to offices in 2021, but for the long-term success of the Cristo Rey model. As job descriptions shift from clerical, in-office tasks to more technical and even permanent remote work, EY plans to remain at the forefront of the conversation.

“EY is proud to support Cristo Rey students as part of our overall commitment to supporting the next generation,” said Bob Pillion, EY Partner and Cristo Rey Board member. “Now more than ever it’s critical we invest in our future and we couldn’t think of a better investment than our youth. We invite others to join our commitment to Cristo Rey and invest in their students through volunteerism, pro bono and financial sponsorship.”