The Carolina Cluster Pathway Program, Benedict College, Claflin University and Voorhees College, has received part of a $35.4 million grant under the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant will help the institutions design and implement programs to improve employment outcomes for graduates. The announcement came after a year-long process which included a multi-phased grant process that initially targeted 87 eligible public and private HBCUs and PBIs.
UNCF has allocated a $6 million grant to these three universities: Claflin University ($3.3 million), Benedict College ($1.5 million), and Voorhees College ($1.2 million). A portion of the Claflin University grant ($1.8 million) will operate a jointly-established State Coordinating Office to direct and monitor all of the activities of the awarded institutions.
The Carolina Cluster Pathway Program (C2P2) will prepare students for high-paying private and public sector occupations in the Carolinas and elsewhere. It seeks to do this by guided pathways, curricular enhancements, and integrated co-curricular engagement. In its initiative, the C2P2 will also include the formation of corporate and public advisory boards.
“This Carolina Cluster Pathway Program is our collaborative response to America’s need for talent and our graduates desire to be competitive in obtaining high-paying 21st Century jobs,” said Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University. “Through the work of the program, we will leverage the capacity of our partner institutions and implement innovative strategies designed to nurture the talent of the students on our campuses as well as recent graduates and help make the story of the workforce of the 21st Century one of increased diversity and inclusion.”
“This is a particularly exciting adventure for us as both a proud HBCU and a major provider of higher education in our community,” noted Dr. David H. Swinton, president and CEO of Benedict College. “This grant will enhance our technology and ability to transform our student scholars into career-oriented professionals who will be true powers for good in our society. We are thrilled to be able to take part in this ground-breaking initiative that will catapult students into meaningful careers and graduate school opportunities in our technology-driven global economy.”
“Voorhees College is delighted to have received funding that will enable us to move our students from college to successful careers,” said Dr. W. Franklin Evans, president of Voorhees College. “We are proud of the long relationship we have forged with UNCF and are elated to have been selected for this opportunity. This grant provides us with additional resources to prepare our students to be competitive in this global society.”
Made possible through a $50 million 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 the students will be the first in their families to earn college degrees. The majority of these students are also from low-to-moderate income families and must receive federal financial aid to pursue their undergraduate studies.
Claflin University, Benedict College and Voorhees College submitted a cluster implementation grant 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 Claflin University, Benedict College and Voorhees College and the 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 (including Claflin, Benedict and Voorhees) have been selected for three cluster grants, in which each cluster of three institutions will collaborate intentionally to achieve their shared outcomes.
The State of South Carolina is the state with the largest share of the grant funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. – $6 million.
More information on the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative is available here.
The original news release, along with a video interview with Dr. David Swinton, President of Benedict College, may be accessed here.