School Outfitters' Mission Extends to CWSP Partnership
Helping educators create an environment in which children can learn and grow is the mission of School Outfitters It’s fitting that this company, which sells school furniture and equipment, is a Partner in DePaul Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Four DPCR students are learning and growing daily while working at School Outfitters’ Cincinnati headquarters. “This program really fits our core mission as a company,” says Judy Roesch, director of customer relations.
This is School Outfitters first year as a CWSP Partner, and Judy says the student workers are already valuable members of the team. “The students’ productivity was a real eye-opener for us. We underestimated their ability to catch on to the tasks we gave them. They learned so quickly that some days they completed their list of assigned tasks and ran out of things to do,” she explains. “We’ve since created a list of extra tasks for them if they complete their assigned work.”
DPCR sophomore Dwayne Wallace works at School Outfitters on Wednesdays and one Friday each month. He likes the company’s work environment. “The supervisors are very friendly and beyond nice to me. They’ve taught us step by step, process by process, what we’re required to do,” he explains.
Dwayne has a long list of colleges and several careers he’s considering for the future. His career interests include physical therapy, sports medicine or engineering. While his work in data entry and scanning forms at School Outfitters may not seem initially relevant to those careers, he clearly understands the advantage this work opportunity is giving him. “It’s a learning experience for me; I know what it takes to go to work all day. Most students my age don’t have jobs and have to rely on their parents to buy things for them,” he says. “I already have job experience and I’m working to pay my own tuition. That’s going to look good on my college resume,” he adds.
Judy Roesch and her colleagues at School Outfitters are making the CWSP experience a productive, learning experience for their four students. “They will eventually work in four departments over the course of this school year - sales, customer relations, accounting and marketing operations. We want to give them exposure to different tasks and managers. We also want to show them that even mundane tasks have a cause and effect on our business,” she explains.
“These students are teaching us too and showing us what the next generation can be. They are bright, eager to learn and have ambitions. Their diverse backgrounds are bringing a new perspective to our workplace,” she adds. And perhaps most significant of all is the intangible benefit she and her colleagues are receiving. “There’s a reward to this that can’t be given a monetary value – we’re making a difference in a young person’s life.”
Pictured above are Judy Roesch (left) and Lisa Strunk (right) of School Outfitters with student Dwayne Wallace.