WILBERFORCE, OHIO (Dec. 5, 2016)—After a six-month planning phase, UNCF announced Wilberforce 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.

Per a statement from Wilberforce University President, Herman J. Felton, Jr.,

The Wilberforce University family is excited about this incredible opportunity to radically transform the collegiate experience of our students as we prepare them for their place in the world beyond Wilberforce. We will leverage the rich legacy of achievement that has defined the Wilberforce University student experience since 1856 and look confidently to a future where excellence, innovation and kindness are our value drivers. The Career Pathways Initiative Grant will allow us to boldly reimagine the academic and student engagement enterprise at Wilberforce to assure that our graduates are fully prepared to assume significant roles in the workplace and as entrepreneurs.

We look forward to working with UNCF and joining this network of grantee institutions to build a community of practice and knowledge base that will inform our work and serve our students to the fullest of our intention and ability.

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.

Wilberforce 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.

“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 Wilberforce 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 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.

The Career Pathways Initiative Grant allows us to look both introspectively and collaboratively at our fifty-year-old Cooperative Education Program and the areas whose support directly and indirectly impact its success. The CPI Grant will resolve the dissonance between students at the onset of admission and the collegiate experience, while propelling the Cooperative Education Program into the 21st Century. This endeavor will be integrated across all academic and co-curricular activities, undergirding the existing mandatory Cooperative Education requirements, assessments, and leadership development programs. Managed through a comprehensive workforce development plan, students will benchmark through a distinct pathway, engaging in and out of the classroom to better prepare for meaningful yearly internships and workforce engagement – from the first-year experience to beyond graduation. -Wilberforce University


email-logo-headerAbout Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University is a four-year, fully accredited liberal arts institution offering over 20 bachelor’s degrees in the areas of business, communications, computing and engineering sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, and the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. Through Adult and Continuing Education Studies, the institution offers Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business (CLIMB) for individuals interested in completing their bachelor of science degrees in criminal justice administration, organizational management, health care administration, and information technology. Founded in 1856, the University boasts the second oldest Cooperative Education Program at an institution of Higher Education in the United States. Wilberforce has stayed true to its founding principles of self-determination and academic access as evident through our holistic scope of Excellence, Innovation, and Kindness. To learn more about “The Oldest Private HBCU in America,” visit www.wilberforce.edu.


lillyAbout 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.


uncfAbout UNCF

UNCF (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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