Today, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) announced a significant partnership with Lilly Endowment, Inc. that directly addresses the employment gaps of African American college graduates.  UNCF’s position is clear in that the disparities represent a crisis in education resulting in extreme unemployment and underemployment serving as a direct attack on human rights that affects the welfare of the entire population of the United States of America.  The inequality in education has reached levels that are unacceptable.  

 Dan Rather’s recent Op-Ed in the Daily Kos is a reminder that we carry a major responsibility to educate and inform the public through investigative reporting with skepticism that covers all sides of the issue.  This call out to the media sounds an alert about reporting on the crisis in education as a direct attack on human rights, where every child born into society does not have access to a great education.  A disproportionate amount of students that succeed through a costly college education system graduate to a status of “unemployed” or “underemployed”. 

“Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted.  History will demand to know which side were you on. This is not a question of politics or party or even policy. This is a question about the very fundamentals of our beautiful experiment in a pluralistic democracy ruled by law.” ~Dan Rather

In 2015, UNCF received a $50 million grant from Lilly Endowment to create CPI. In addition to funding planning and implementation grants to colleges and universities, the Endowment’s grant is enabling UNCF to offer technical support and consultation to schools participating in CPI, including conferences to facilitate shared learning among the colleges and universities, and conduct program evaluation.  With the support of the media, UNCF hopes to educate the public about its innovative solution under its UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc.  “The value proposition for HBCUs and PBIs remains strong, as these institutions produce a disproportionate amount of first-generation, low-income graduates of color,” said Lomax.

Although HBCUs represent only 3 percent of all two- and four-year U.S. colleges and universities, they enroll 10 percent of all African American undergraduates, produce 18 percent of all African American college graduates, and generate 25 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields earned by African Americans annually.  “UNCF and Lilly Endowment are helping to produce new pathways so that these deserving graduates have seamless transitions to meaningful careers.  More than half of recent African American college graduates are underemployed and 12 percent are unemployed. As the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, UNCF is addressing this large employment gap of African American college graduates.  Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF president and CEO is focused on solving the crisis with philanthropic partnerships that are created as a result of the success of the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) strategic pilot program available at select Historically Black Colleges and Universities. UNCF selected 24 colleges and universities to receive five-year implementation grants totaling an impressive $35 million to improve job placement outcomes for graduates through the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. UNCF and Lilly Endowment are forging a new path so that these deserving graduates have a seamless transition to meaningful careers. 

dr-infographics-2A recent Georgetown University study shows that more than 95 percent of jobs created since the Great Recession have gone to workers with at least some college education, primarily high-skill managerial and professional jobs. These findings make it clear that a college degree continues to be─and will increasingly become─the most important economic asset for those who want to succeed in the labor market. For African Americans, who comprise 81 percent of HBCU enrollments and who have historically experienced considerably higher unemployment rates than the national average, having an immersive career preparation experience in college will be of utmost importance to promote income equality and contribute fully to the nation’s workforce needs. (Video)  “In the next 10 years, the U.S. could face a shortfall of more than 10 million workers with the postsecondary education and training needed to fill the jobs of the future,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, Director and Research Professor, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “If we are to meet the impending shortfall and strengthen the next generation of workers as a whole, we will need to move a minimum of nearly 4 million African American and Hispanic students on to postsecondary success.”

The time is now to unite in the humanitarianism and activism for improving education outcomes to get students to and through college.  UNCF President / CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax is asking for your support in joining him to amplify the message through any means available to you that engages the public to unite in support of this innovative pilot program.  You can support by sharing this information with your social network to engage the public in conversation that promotes progress and creates change in support of UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI).  Please use #UNCFCPI to voice your support across your social network to drive attention to this important and innovative initiative.  

Please contact Monique Linder at 612-787-8705 or via email at: monique@omgdigitalmediasolutions.com to schedule interviews with Dr. Michael Lomax or any of the HBCU CPI grant recipient colleges and universities, or to find out more information about the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. Monique Linder is the Founder of OMG Media and works as a media strategist for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

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