$5 million Lilly Endowment grant to enhance employment opportunities for Purdue graduates

January 13, 2014  

Purdue University will be able to augment and further develop its programs to help graduates pursue career opportunities in Indiana through a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The funds will be used to support collaborations among established companies and startups, with a goal to increase high-tech job opportunities in Indiana.

The grant is part of $62.7 million in grants the Endowment distributed to Indiana's 39 accredited colleges and universities as part of its Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations. 

"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 Lilly Endowment. "The Endowment has become increasingly concerned about the implications of these statistics and their potential impact on the state’s future prosperity."

The Endowment's initiative aims to help Indiana colleges and universities pursue activities that improve the job prospects of college graduates in the state.

"Purdue is one of our nation's top public universities, and we share the Endowment's deep commitment to strengthening Indiana by fostering career opportunities for college graduates throughout our state," said Mitch Daniels, Purdue University president. "Right now about 56 percent of Purdue graduates accept jobs in Indiana after graduation. We want to see a substantial increase in that percentage, and through this grant and other initiatives we are doing what we can to help make that happen."

As part of the Endowment grant, Purdue proposes to:

* Increase its co-op partnerships with Indiana companies including those that have received Indiana's "Companies to Watch" award.

* Develop an interactive visualization platform for career mapping and forging connections among students and industry.

* Promote Purdue's entrepreneurship education programs to help students effectively plan pathways for high-tech careers in Indiana.

Other strategies to encourage college graduates to obtain employment in Indiana following graduation 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.

"Lilly 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," Cobb added.

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