Corporate Work Study Program Experience a "Win-Win" for Expeditors and CTK Senior

“I was surprised that they would trust a kid to handle projects for real customers.” ~ Za’Nya CTK ‘24

Expeditors, a global trade company, partners with 14 Cristo Rey Network schools including Christ the King Jesuit College Prep to provide students with real-world experiences with international trade and logistics. For 13 years in Chicago, Expeditors has created an environment where students, like current senior Za’Nya, feel valued and encouraged to excel. Expeditors companywide focus on a strong company culture and extensive training, helps to set it apart from their competition and leads to enhanced customer satisfaction and employee retention. The CTK Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) relationship is overseen by Adrienne Murphy, District Trainer/Branch Security Manager, who has been at Expeditors for 23 years. She said, “I really love the Corporate Work Study program. It is rewarding for us to mentor and help students grow over their 4 years of high school, and to help them go further in life.”

When Za’Nya started her CWSP assignment at Expeditors she was nervous and shy. It was a difficult adjustment for her to work in a professional environment, sit at a desk all day, and interact with adults. “I couldn’t look people in the eye when talking to them. I wasn’t comfortable communicating when I needed help. I didn’t want to bother anyone.” She was assigned to the Brokerage department which was responsible for tracking and tracing customer shipments. She worked under the guidance of supervisors, Danielle Davis, Customs Brokerage Supervisor and David Immanuel, Customs Brokerage Lead Agent. Her supervisors took the time to teach and train Za’Nya, so her comfort level and knowledge base grew over time. As Danielle related, “We specifically didn’t want to assign her just busy work. We knew if we could take the time to train her properly upfront, she and we could be comfortable enough to have her work more independently and directly with customers.” Conscientious and eager to learn, as Za’Nya’s social skills and confidence developed, she was able to earn her supervisors’ trust. According to David, “She’s become my right hand. I rely on her to assist me in filling all the gaps and getting things done. She’s grown into a being an important part of our team.” Danielle adds, “We can count on her to do her job with minimal supervision. She can basically do anything a full- time person can do. When she graduates, it’s going to have a big impact. “

Danielle and David taking the time to get to know Za’Nya on a personal level, was an important element in establishing a trusting relationship. During their informal lunches, they talked about hobbies, music, and college experiences. As a first-generation college student, getting advice and hearing about their college experiences was helpful for Za’Nya. Danielle said, “I want to help her make the best college choice for her, and encouraged her to think long term.”

Za’Nya is deciding between her college options, which have been impacted this year by changes and delays in the FAFSA process. She wants to go into nursing, and specifically take care of infants in the NICU. While a different professional setting, she recognizes the value of the skills and experience she gained from her Expeditors job experience extending to both college and her nursing career.

The Expeditors team members all praised their work study experience with Za’Nya, and would encourage other individuals and companies to get involved with CTK’s Corporate Work Study Program. Danielle shared, “Working with Za’Nya has been a wonderful experience. I look forward to Tuesdays when she comes in. I would definitely supervise a CTK student again. I can only hope to have someone as dedicated as Za’Nya. But I’m up to the challenge of training a new CTK student. It takes patience and you need to set aside time, but I’d recommend the program to other companies. You gain as much from the opportunity as the students do.” Adrienne added, “It’s a win-win, to have the opportunity to have a positive effect on each CTK student worker’s life and future,”

At the Cristo Rey Network annual meeting earlier this spring, the Expeditors partnership was recognized with a Corporate Work Study National Impact Award. CTK is grateful for our long-term partnership with the Expeditors Chicago office and its employees, and for their positive impact on CTK students over the last 13 years. We look forward to continuing our relationship for many more years.