Loren Venegas

The Ideal Group, Detroit

It’s hard enough establishing and maintaining success in any business, so when Loren Venegas, president of The Ideal Group Inc. in Detroit, learned that a new high school dedicated to building corporate careers was opening near the company’s headquarters, he wanted to help. “People gave me an opportunity early in my career, and it was just a matter of taking advantage of it,” says Venegas. “We started 12 years ago in metal fabrication, automotive supply, and now plastic covers for dozens of products, and we work for great companies like General Motors Corp.” The new school, called Detroit Cristo Rey High School, will open this fall in southwest Detroit. In addition to a stringent scholastic curriculum, 125 incoming freshman, like Diego Cruz, will work one or two days a week at a nearby business. The work, which consists of clerical and professional tasks, pays for 70 percent of a student’s tuition. “I want to go to college and eventually become a surgeon, and … Cristo Rey will give me a head start,” Cruz says. The Catholic school, part of a nationwide effort, accepts only students whose families have an annual income of around $34,000. “I’m really interested in working in a hospital helping people,” says Corina Everly, right, “but I thought I would have to wait until college to experience how a big company operates. Plus, this will look great on my résumé.”

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