Tennessee State awarded $2 million grant from UNCF for student job placement improvements

By K. Dawn Rutledge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has been awarded a $2 million grant as part of the United Negro College Fund® Career Pathways Initiative.

careerpathwayslogo800hero2The pilot program, made possible through $35.3 million in funding by the Lilly Endowment Inc., will enable selected historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominately black institutions (PBIs) to address social and economic issues of minority graduation, unemployment and underemployment.

TSU will use the money to enhance its student career development initiatives.

“The UNCF Career Pathways Initiative Grant will give TSU the capacity to better leverage strategic partnerships between our faculty, staff, employers, entrepreneurs and alumni to impact student career exploration, readiness and access,” said Eloise Abernathy Alexis, TSU’s associate vice president for Institutional Advancement.

UNCF launched CPI in December 2016 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 chose 24 colleges and universities for implementation grants. Of those schools, 15 will receive awards ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million. Nine of the institutions have been selected for three cluster grants, and will receive up to $6 million to collaborate to achieve shared outcomes.

“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.

Tennessee State is among the cluster recipients working in partnership with Morgan State University and Norfolk State University on a joint effort incorporating learning activities, internship exchanges, and linking students through employer clusters, among other initiatives.

“As we implement a framework to increase career outcomes and opportunities for TSU students, we will add to the national body of knowledge on career pathways, within the context of public, historically black colleges and universities, as part of our cluster engagement with Morgan State University and Norfolk State University,” Alexis said.

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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.