NEW ORLEANS – Dillard University is pleased to announce it is among 24 institutionsselected to receive a UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) implementation grant. Made possible through a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., and will work with these select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) to improve job placement outcomes for their graduates.
“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 Dillard University and the 23 other institutions chosen to lead this important work.”
Dillard will receive $1,000,000 over the next five years to create career pathways that lead to improved 21st century employment outcomes. Dillard University was chosen for its institutional dedication to improving student and graduate outcomes through guided pathways, curricular enhancement, and integrated co-curricular engagement.
The University also displayed a comprehensive approach to meeting these goals in its proposal, as well as its high level of engagement and capacity to execute its plan. Dillard was selected in a highly competitive process that initially included nearly 100 applications from minority serving institutions. Carretta Cooke, director of the Dillard Center for Career and Professional Development and Dr. Cleo Joffrion Allen, associate professor and program coordinator of Mass Communication, will serve as project co-leads.
Cooke said, “Our CPI plan will integrate a number of current campus initiatives into a single comprehensive effort that incorporates new strategies as well.”
“By partnering an enhanced academic curriculum with co-curricular and career placement activities, our faculty and staff will collaborate in way not done before at Dillard. The benefit of that collaboration is that we’ll ensure that our students are combining their academic experiences with career opportunities both on campus and beyond.”
Dillard will also be connecting with a variety of community partners who can provide a thorough understanding of local and national career trends. One such partner, Greater New Orleans, Incorporated (GNO, Inc.), has already committed to the development and implementation of strategies to connect curriculum and career opportunities.
“Over the past two years, as part of our strategic plan, we identified as a priority defining the Dillard experience and what a Dillard graduate looks like,” said President Walter M. Kimbrough.
“This grant is a perfect complement to a priority we set before this opportunity was even available. The excellent timing was additional confirmation that we are preparing Dillard not just for today, but for the future.”
For the duration of the grant, UNCF will provide technical assistance, networking opportunities, and professional development services, as well as promote collective learning from this cohort of institutions to study systemic change as it relates to driving student success and improved career outcomes.
“This concept and approach will be unlike anything on the New Orleans higher education landscape,” Cooke added. “This is transformational for Dillard. For the first time, a program will connect our academic affairs and career services to business stakeholders to enhance career readiness and placement in this increasingly competitive job market.”