UNCF Addresses Employment Gaps of Black College Grads

A UNCF pilot program awarded $35 million in grants to 24 colleges and universities

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Image: iStock.com/arieliona

We all know that it takes more than a college degree to secure a flourishing future. Unfortunately, more than half of recent African American college graduates are underemployed and 12% are unemployed.

The good news is UNCF has recently announced that 24 colleges and universities will receive 5-year grants, totaling $35.3 million, to implement programs to improve employment outcomes for their graduates.

Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative is a unique pilot program for select historically black colleges and universities and predominantly black institutions that are helping to 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.

These colleges and universities submitted proposals that reflect a commitment to strengthening career advising and mentoring, enhancing curricula, and supporting integrated co-curricular engagement. As part of CPI, they 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, in a statement.

“CPI will help ensure our graduates are prepared for and are hired into high-paying 21st-century jobs,” Lomax said. “With strong CPI results, we will be able to make the case to others to invest in a new model—one that enables minority and low-income students by giving them the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the global marketplace.”

UNCF launched CPI in December 2015 through a 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 have been selected for three cluster grants, in which each cluster of three institutions will intentionally collaborate to achieve their shared outcomes. Each cluster will receive up to $6 million.

The colleges and universities will reflect their missions as liberal arts institutions while striving to prepare students for 21st-century careers that increasingly demand training in STEM fields.

To read more, visit this website.