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December 5, 2013

Indiana colleges bestowed Lilly Endowment grants totaling $62.7 million

Funds will help improve employment opportunities for college graduates

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s 39 accredited colleges and universities will receive a significant boost to their efforts to enhance and expand opportunities for their college graduates to find meaningful employment in Indiana as a result of $62.7 million in grants from Lilly Endowment Inc.

For more than a decade through its Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations, the Endowment has awarded grants to Indiana colleges and universities to pursue activities that improve the job prospects of college graduates in the state. While progress has been made, particularly through expanded internship opportunities and more robust career placement offices, Indiana college graduates continue to have difficulty finding jobs within the state that are suitable to individuals holding a bachelor’s degree.

“Despite a steady supply of four-year college graduates, Indiana ranks very low among the states in the percentage of its adult working-age population that has a bachelor’s degree, and the state’s average per capita income ranking also is unacceptable,” said Sara B. Cobb, vice president for education at the Endowment. “The Endowment has become increasingly concerned about the implications of these statistics and their potential impact on the state’s future prosperity.”

To understand better the quality and quantity of employment opportunities available in Indiana, the education and skills needed to qualify for them, and how job availability is communicated between employers and those seeking jobs, in 2011 the Endowment provided a grant to the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation to enable it to commission a research study from Battelle Technology Partnership Practice.

“The Battelle research found that Indiana lags the nation in the availability of high-skilled jobs and that, with a few key exceptions, we’re adding bachelor’s degree jobs in many important industry clusters at a slower pace than the rest of the country,” said David Johnson, president and CEO of CICP. “The study also noted that too many graduates do not have the required majors or other credentials for the high-skilled jobs that are available, and it suggested actions that colleges and universities could take to prepare and connect their graduates better to high-skilled jobs and help increase the state’s demand for educated workers.”

In 2012, the Endowment provided planning grants to Indiana colleges and universities that enabled them to review Battelle’s findings, study the problem from the perspective of each institution’s mission and context, understand more deeply the experiences of their graduates in seeking employment in Indiana, and develop school-specific strategies to address the initiative’s aim. Many schools also used the planning period to research best practices at peer institutions around the state and country.

In preparing their proposals, virtually all of the colleges and universities engaged with organizations from other sectors, such as CICP, Indiana INTERNnet, chambers of commerce and community foundations, Indiana Humanities, governmental entities and scores of Indiana businesses. Leaders in many sectors have important roles to play in fostering meaningful economic opportunity in the state for Indiana college graduates. Together they can enhance the quality of life in Indiana communities and make the state more attractive for new or expanding businesses that provide high-skilled job opportunities.

“The Endowment has seen firsthand that colleges and universities have the ability and desire to help improve the job prospects of college graduates in Indiana, and we wanted to give them the resources to be even more strategic and ambitious,” added Cobb.

All 39 colleges and universities submitted promising proposals that will be funded by the Endowment. These grant funds will enable the schools to pursue a broad range of activities that span all points on the college to career spectrum. Common strategies include: developing new courses, certificates, credentials and degrees; beginning more deliberate career counseling for all students during their freshman year rather than waiting until their junior or senior years; offering more internship and co-op opportunities; and strengthening their efforts to promote entrepreneurship and technology transfer.

In aggregate:

• Nearly all colleges and universities will increase the number of internship and other experiential learning opportunities available to their students.

• More than three-quarters will expand and accelerate their career development and readiness programs.

• More than two-thirds will modify their curricula to better align courses with employer needs.

• 19 will create a total of 75 new certificate programs.

• More than one-third will foster entrepreneurialism through internships, new course offerings, certificate programs and educational experiences with start-ups.

• 10 will develop new degree programs, many focused on Indiana’s fast-growing healthcare industry.

• Three will strengthen their technology transfer and commercialization efforts.

“We are encouraged by the variety of thoughtful programs that colleges and universities proposed,” Cobb said. “These activities have the potential to increase significantly the number of Indiana college graduates who find satisfying job opportunities in the state.”

Grant recipients and amounts, which vary in accordance with schools’ enrollment size, are as follows:

Ancilla Domini College — $1,000,000

Anderson University — $1,000,000

Ball State University Foundation — $3,000,000

Bethel College — $868,021

Butler University — $999,952

Calumet College of St. Joseph — $999,999

DePauw University — $1,000,000

Earlham College — $1,000,000

Franklin College — $998,395

Goshen College — $1,000,000

Grace College — $1,000,000

Hanover College — $998,408

Holy Cross College — $1,000,000

Huntington University — $1,000,000

Indiana Institute of Technology (Indiana Tech) — $1,000,000

Indiana State University Foundation — $3,000,000

Indiana University Foundation — $5,000,000

Indiana Wesleyan University — $3,000,000

Ivy Tech Foundation — $4,874,264

Manchester University — $1,000,000

Marian University — $1,000,000

Martin University — $998,239

Oakland City University — $1,000,000

Purdue Research Foundation — $5,000,000

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology — $1,000,000

St. Joseph’s College — $1,000,000

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College — $1,000,000

St. Mary’s College — $1,000,000

Taylor University — $1,000,000

Trine University — $1,000,000

University of Evansville — $1,000,000

University of Indianapolis — $1,000,000

University of Notre Dame — $3,000,000

University of St. Francis — $1,000,000

University of Southern Indiana Foundation — $3,000,000

Valparaiso University — $1,000,000

Vincennes University Foundation — $3,000,000

Wabash College — $999,771

Western Governors University — $1,000,000

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