UNCF Awards $35.3 Million to Close African-American Employment Gap

UNCF Awards $35.3 Million to Close African-American Employment Gap

The United Negro College Fund has announced grants totaling $35.3 million to historically black colleges and universities and predominantly black institutions to improve employment outcomes for their graduates.

The UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) awarded five-year grants to twenty-four institutions to strengthen their career advising and mentoring, enhance curricula, and support integrated co-curricular engagement. Fifteen institutions were awarded individual grants ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million, while three groups of three institutions each will receive "cluster grants" of up to $6 million to collaborate to achieve shared outcomes.

A pilot program launched last December with a $50 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, CPI will help the colleges and universities develop academic programs, internships, industry partnerships, specialty certifications, and faculty development aimed at boosting students' career readiness — including preparing students for careers that increasingly demand training in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. According to UNCF, more than half of recent African-American college graduates are underemployed, while 12 percent are unemployed.

"These colleges and universities show promise in significantly addressing the urgent challenges facing African-American college students and graduates," said UNCF president and CEO Michael L. Lomax. "CPI will help ensure our graduates are prepared for and are hired into high-paying twenty-first-century jobs. 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."

For a complete list of grant recipients, see the UNCF website.