UNCF Awards to Improve Graduates' Job Placement Outcomes

UNCF Awards to Improve Graduates’ Job Placement Outcomes

Thirty colleges have been selected as planning grant awardees for UNCF’s new Career Pathways Initiative, or CPI, a highly competitive grant process open to four-year historically black colleges and universities and predominantly black institutions to help students acquire the knowledge, preparation, insight, and skills they need for meaningful employment upon graduation.

Lilly Endowment Inc. committed $50 million in October 2015 to launch the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative to improve job placement outcomes of graduates from HBCUs and PBIs. Institutions will employ various strategies to achieve this goal, including aligning curricula with local and national workforce needs, developing intentional career pathway options for students across their collegiate experience, and strengthening their career service operations. The collective planning grant distribution announced today totals $2.55 million, which has the potential to assist more than 66,000 students across the 30 colleges and universities.

“The UNCF Career Pathways Initiative is not only important to HBCUs and PBIs, it is important for the entire American higher education system and the American global economy,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. “CPI will serve as a model of best practices for all colleges and universities to follow, in order to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students and the demands of the ever-changing marketplace for talent. We’re excited that HBCUs and PBIs will be at the forefront of this new and impactful venture. We applaud all of the institutions that put their best foot forward in the interest of their students’ future careers, and we commend the 30 institutions that were selected.”

The rigorous and competitive grant process opened in December 2015 to 87 eligible public and private institutions, of which 81 were HBCUs and six were PBIs. The eligible institutions met select criteria, including being an accredited four-year degree-granting institution that awards most of its degrees at the bachelor’s level. Of the 87 eligible institutions, 70 applied for the planning grant and 30 were selected.

Of the 30 recipients, 29 are HBCUs and one is a PBI. Twenty-three of the selected grantees are among the 37 private UNCF-supported institutions. The six-month planning grants are one-time awards that help the institutions research and envision programs that will strengthen their efforts to prepare students for sustainable and meaningful careers. Award amounts vary based on the institution’s student enrollment. Among the 30 selected institutions are Morgan State University, whose team won the BE Smart Hackathon last fall, and Spelman College, which competed in the hackathon.

For more information about CPI and the grant process, go to the UNCF website.