A new program that gets kids out of the classroom and into the workplace is spreading across the country.

North Cambridge Catholic was once in danger of closing. Three years later it's thriving, thanks to an unorthodox way of operating that couples schools and corporations.

It's a program called the Cristo Rey Network . Students spend four days a week at school, and one day a week working for local companies.

Instead of paying the students, the corporations pay the school, helping reduce tuition for the students. At North Cambridge Catholic, where 90 percent of students are minorities from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the program lowers tuition to an affordable $2,000 per year.

Click in the video box to watch a report by FOX News' Julie Banderas.

But is it normal to expose kids to the corporate workplace at such a young age?

"The work experience may make the education seem more worthwhile. They'll have a sense of why they're in school. It'll give them a reality test of the real world," said Dr. Alvin Poussaint of Harvard's Judge Baker Children's Center .

Melanie Arujo, a student at North Cambridge, works for a company that delivers web-based services. "They pay each student five thousand dollars to be here. It's good because it helps your parents so it's not a big burden on them," she says.

Not only are students responsible for their scholarly performance and their professional performance, but they're responsible for the consequences that ensue from underperforming in both. Students who skip work are fined $100 a day.

Some say the program improves a lot more than the students' academic performance.

Sister Ellen Powers told FOX News, "We call them young professionals and they act as young professionals both in the classroom and also at the worksite."