Wilberforce receives UNCF grant

Xenia Daily Gazette

WILBERFORCE — Wilberforce University will receive a grant to help improve job outcomes of its graduates.

United Negro College Fund Career Pathways Initiative officials announced that the country’s oldest historically black college and university is one of 24 to receive five-year grants to help its students be better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. Wilberforce’s grant is for $1 million.

“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,” said Wilberforce President Herman J. Felton Jr. “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.”

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 chose 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.

“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,” Felton said.

Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.

Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.