The Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis has announced a $50 million grant to the United Negro College Fund. The grant is the second largest gift received by the UNCF since its founding in 1944.
The grant money will be used to fund career development programs at UNCF member institutions. The UNCF Career Pathways Initiative will award competitive grants to four-year historically Black colleges and universities and predominantly black institutions to help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed for meaningful employment in a technology-driven, global economy.
Through a competitive grant process, the initiative will encourage schools to strengthen career guidance and discernment and enhance the liberal arts education of students by adding – where needed – certain skills, experiences, and knowledge required by employers. It will expose college faculty to contemporary workplaces so they can better teach, advise, and mentor students. The initiative also will help institutions build partnerships with local and national employers and improve student career services.
Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the UNCF stated that “we have designed a program that we envision will serve as a model of best practices to solve the unemployment and underemployment crisis among recent college graduates. In today’s marketplace, students need both the knowledge and soft skills to compete in the global economy. Sadly, too many of our nation’s talented students are having difficulty finding good jobs after graduation. Our goal is to work with students, faculty, colleges, alumni, and employers to better connect the student experience with the jobs of the future.”
The UNCF represents 37 private historically Black colleges and universities.