UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., awards $35 million in grants to selected HBCUs and PBIs; to address social and economic issues of minority graduation, unemployment, and underemployment
(Huntsville, AL, December 5, 2016) -After a six-month planning phase, UNCF announced Oakwood University as one of 24 colleges and universities that will receive five-year grants totaling $35.3 million for the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), a transformative effort to design and implement programs to improve employment outcomes for graduates. Oakwood, along with Talladega College and Tougaloo College worked together over the past few months to apply for a CPI cluster grant, which will collectively award $6M to the three institutions.
“I am pleased and excited that Oakwood University, along with our sister institutions Talladega and Tougaloo have been able to work together to receive this award of up to $6M, remarks Dr. Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University. “We know that our students are the cream of the crop and this grant from UNCF and the Lilly Foundation is going to give us the edge that we need to make sure that when our students finish their degree they will be eligible for employment because of the career expose we will provide.”
Made possible through a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is a unique pilot program for select historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly black institutions (PBIs) that is helping them enhance career readiness for their 54,000 enrolled students. Many of these students will be the first in their families to earn college degrees. The majority of students are from low-to-moderate income families and must receive federal financial aid to pursue their undergraduate studies.
Oakwood University submitted a proposal that reflects a commitment to strengthening career advising and mentoring, enhancing curricula, and supporting integrated co-curricular engagement. As part of CPI, the selected institutions will develop a range of academic programs, student internships, industry partnerships, specialty certifications, and faculty development as they forge a new model for career readiness.
A complete list of colleges and universities receiving the grants can be viewed here.
“These colleges and universities show promise in significantly addressing the urgent challenges facing African American college students and graduates,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “We heartily congratulate Oakwood University and the 23 other institutions chosen to lead this important work."
UNCF launched CPI in December 2015 through a rigorous and competitive multi-phased grant process that targeted 87 eligible public and private HBCUs and PBIs. In the first phase, UNCF made planning grants to 30 institutions. In the final phase, UNCF has chosen 24 colleges and universities for implementation grants. Of those schools, 15 institutions will receive individual awards ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million. Nine of the institutions, including Oakwood, have been selected for three cluster grants, in which each cluster of three institutions will collaborate intentionally to achieve their shared outcomes. Each cluster will receive up to $6 million.
Oakwood’s guided pathway provides student-centered and immersive experiences, a career preparation with faculty to guide students toward academic and professional success. Our vision is an internal social media and highly connected (GEMconnect) guided career pathway to provide each graduate with 21st century career and technology tools needed to thrive.
About Oakwood UniversityOakwood University, a historically Black SDA institution of higher learning, offers quality Christian Education that emphasizes academic excellence, promotes harmonious development of mind, body, and spirit, and prepares leaders in service for God and humanity. The school’s motto, shared by faculty and students, is: Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve. In everything it does, it believes and practices God First, its current slogan. Consistent with its Mission Statement, Oakwood University is in the business of transforming lives – both for now and, more importantly, for eternity. Founded in 1896, Oakwood University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). More information about Oakwood can be found on their website at www.oakwood.edu.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. Although it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana, it does support efforts of national significance particularly in the field of religion and on an invitational basis disaster relief and recovery efforts and programs that enhance higher education opportunities for African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans across the country. More information can be found at www.lillyendowment.org.
About UNCFUNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark: A mind is a terrible thing to waste®. Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF and #UNCFCPI.
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