AUSTIN, TX – After a six-month planning phase, UNCF announced Huston-Tillotson University (a historically black university  located in Austin, Texas) as one of 24 colleges and universities that will receive five-year grants totaling $35.3 million for the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), a transformative effort to design and implement programs to improve employment outcomes for graduates.

“This CPI opportunity will truly enhance the work we do every day here at Huston-Tillotson University, and will help us achieve our million by providing the resources necessary to give our students an excellent college to career pathway experience,” said Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University. “This grant will prepare our students to become powerful additions to the nontraditional workplaces and spaces where they will continue to find success after college. I am extremely grateful to UNCF for their continual support of our mission.”

Made possible through a grant from Lily  Endowment Inc., the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is a unique pilot program for select historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominately  black institutions (PBIs) that is helping them enhance career readiness for their 54,000 enrolled students. Many of these students will be the first in their families to earn college degrees. The majorities of students are from low-to-moderate income families and must receive federal financial aid to pursue their undergraduate studies.

At Huston-Tillotson, CPI will provide a seamless path from college to career. This July, approximately 60 incoming freshmen considering majoring in Communications, Kinesiology, Computer Science or Business Administration will join the University’s Summer Bridge Program; two gateway courses specifically designed to introduce those students to what will eventually become four years of related CPI work. As part of Summer Bridge, students will be assigned to a Career Coach, complete career assessments and workshops, participate in leadership building exercises, and work with their assigned Career Couch to launch a startup company.

Earlier this year, Huston-Tillotson University submitted a proposal that reflects a commitment to strengthening career advising and mentoring, enhancing curricula, and supporting integrated co-curricular engagement. As part of CPI, the selected institutions will develop a range of academic programs, student internships, industry partnerships, specialty certifications, and faculty development as they forge a new model for career readiness.

A complete list of colleges and universities receiving the grants can be viewed here.

“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. “We heartily congratulate Hust0n-Tillotson University and the 23 other institutions chosen to lead this important work.”

UNCF launched CPI in December 2015 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 has chosen 24 colleges and universities for implementation grants. Of those schools, 15 institutions will receive individual awards ranging from $1 millions to $1.5 million. Nine of the institutions have been selected for three cluster grants, in which each cluster of three institutions will collaborate intentionally to achieve their shared outcomes. Each cluster will receive up to $6 million.


About Huston-Tillotson University

Huston-Tillotson University is Austin’s oldest institution of higher education. Huston-Tillotson awards undergraduates, four-year degrees in business, education, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, science and technology. A multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith institution,  the University welcomes students of all ages, races and religions. To learn more about Huston-Tillotson University, visit


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lily Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family –  J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli –  through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lily and Company. Although those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, educations and religion. Although it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state Indiana, it does support the efforts of national significance particularly in the field of religion and on a invitational basis disaster relief and recovery efforts and programs that enhance higher education opportunities for African American, Latinos and Native Americans across the country. More information can be found at


About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ educations and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens in 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark: A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Learn more at, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF and #UNCFCPI


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