Lilly Endowment gives $1 million to Ancilla College as part of statewide effort to improve employment opportunities for college grads
INDIANAPOLIS – Ancilla College, Indiana’s only private, Associate’s Degree granting college, has been awarded a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant is one of 39 provided by the Endowment to the state’s accredited colleges and universities as part of its Initiative to Expand Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations. The grants, totaling $62.7 million, will provide a significant boost to the schools’ efforts to enhance and expand opportunities for college graduates to find meaningful employment in Indiana.
“We are very excited to receive this grant and appreciate the Endowment’s long support of education in Indiana,” Dr. Joanna F. Blount, dean of academic and student services at Ancilla, explained.
Ancilla will implement a three-pronged approach to enhancing educational opportunities for its students: “Pathways for high school students that decrease the time it takes them to complete degrees, internships that enhance skill development and lead to paid positions, and seamless transitions for students who transfer to senior institutions,” Blount said.
“We plan to do this by enhancing dual credit and early bird opportunities with local high schools and implementing two computer information systems degrees that lead to certifications in networking and web development,” she said.
The college will also work with regional employers to develop internship opportunities. “Our ultimate goal is to increase college completion, provide internships for students and employers, and keep local talent in Indiana,” she said.
Also, as part of the grant, Ancilla is developing a northern Indiana regional Healthcare Training Center that will offer healthcare-related certificates like Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Qualified Medication Aide (QMA) programs.
“In talking with the Nursing Advisory Committee and other healthcare providers in Marshall and Starke counties, we heard that it costs a great deal for employers to train an individual who often leaves after a short time on the job,” Blount said.
“This is problematic for small employers who are dedicated to providing quality service. Offering certificates is one way to increase employment opportunities while expanding the workforce for healthcare providers. We plan to provide cost effective training for facilities who utilize CNA and QMA trained staff,” Blount said.
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,” she said.
All 39 colleges and universities, including Ancilla, submitted promising proposals to help improve the job prospects of college graduates in Indiana. These grant funds will enable the schools to pursue a broad range of activities that span all points on the college to career spectrum.
“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.”