AU Receives Grant to Improve Employment Opportunities for Graduates

 In All Church of God, Colleges & Universities


Anderson University will receive $1 million to enhance and expand opportunities for its graduates to find meaningful employment in Indiana as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations. The Endowment awarded $62.7 million in grants to Indiana’s 39 accredited colleges and universities through this initiative.

For more than a decade, 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.”

“This grant enables Anderson University to support many activities that will lead our graduates to Indiana careers,” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “It will support creative, collaborative efforts with people and organizations that understand the importance of off-campus experiences to the learning process and support student transitions into careers of distinction vital to the future of Indiana. We appreciate Lilly Endowment’s generous support of these promising efforts that will increase our students’ success.”

Anderson University’s program, entitled IDEA-U (Integration and Development of Entrepreneurship with Academics), will build collaborative partnerships and innovative entrepreneurial projects that will impact communities in central Indiana. IDEA-U will link existing agencies and departments (both within the university and outside the institution) in purposeful relationships designed to increase graduates’ professional readiness and build stronger, broader collaborative networks.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to receive a grant that will help us advance the future workforce in Indiana,” said Dr. Marie Morris, provost for Anderson University. “With this generous funding from the Endowment we will be able to bring together our commitments to academic and Christian discovery for a purpose; create a campus-wide culture of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship; and enhance partnerships within our community and with higher education colleagues. The ultimate goal is to educate graduates who not only fill jobs but create them. We look forward to a bright future.”

Collaborative partners that will work with Anderson University to achieve the program goals include the Flagship Enterprise Center, the Levinson Center and Indiana Campus Compact. Faculty, staff, students and community partners will be engaged to contribute to innovative and entrepreneurial projects to show AU graduates the potential for lifelong learning and work in Indiana.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his two sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., with gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America’s top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.

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