Lilly Endowment Awards $1 Million to UE

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013

The University of Evansville has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the Center for Career Development. The funding will help create new programs designed to produce career-ready graduates and retain talent in the state of Indiana.

“We’re incredibly thankful to Lilly Endowment for their continued generous support of the University,” said UE President Thomas A. Kazee. “We’re committed to preparing our students to succeed in a highly competitive job market, and this funding will help us make an even more profound impact on the lives of our students.”

The grant funding will allow the Center to create and implement three new programs focused on Indiana employers and employment. First, the Indiana Employment Network will promote placement of UE graduates within the state of Indiana, building relationships with employers who commit to hiring UE students for paid internships and providing employment opportunities after graduation.

Next, the Hire Indiana Initiative will provide enhanced funding for current programs such as the Career Advantage Program for prospective students; the ACE Certificate, which helps current students hone their professional skills and career focus; and UE Connect, an alumni mentoring network.

Finally, the grant will allow UE to collaborate with the Independent Colleges of Indiana to host networking events throughout the state, three times each year for the next four or more years. These events, featuring presentations by Indiana employers and networking receptions, will be open to students and alumni of all 31 ICI colleges and universities.

The grant will also create a new Director of Employer Development position, a Career Development Travel Fund to provide monetary support for students traveling to job and internship interviews in Indiana, a Faculty Advisory Committee to further connect students with career opportunities in their field, and the Career Peers Program, which will select and train students to provide peer advisement on resumes, cover letters, mock interviewing, and other professional skills.

“This grant will help us support our graduates’ pursuit of careers in Indiana,” said Gene Wells, director of the Center for Career Development. “UE is already a net importer of talent to the state, as shown by the 62 percent of the 2012 graduating class who remained in Indiana, though only 57 percent were Indiana residents when they enrolled at UE. This is a noteworthy testament to the University’s commitment to Indiana opportunities for our graduates, and we’re thrilled to have additional resources to benefit both our students and the state.”

“Early in my time at UE, I knew it was important for me to make every effort to ensure I was prepared for the job search when that time came,” said Jonny Axton, a senior electrical engineering major from New Harmony, Indiana. “I worked closely with the Center for Career Development and built a strong resume, created my cover letter, gathered references, and participated in mock interviews. As a result, I developed confidence in my interview preparation and learned what employers are looking for in prospective employees. This experience has proven to be of utmost value, as it opened the door to a one-year paid co-op experience, which led to a full-time job offer when I graduate.”

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