How might our institutions provide intentional and sustainable pathways to build 21st century competencies and help all our students find meaningful employment in their desired career field?


The Education Design Lab is pleased to announce a partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Career Pathways Initiative to co-host their 2nd Annual Career Pathways Initiative Convening with historically black colleges and universities (“HBCUs”). During this two-and-a-half day hands-on engagement in late June, 27 college presidents and their senior teams will explore innovation tools and design capacity for four-year HBCUs and primarily black institutions (PBIs) as they work to strengthen career outcomes for their students.  The goal is to increase the number of graduates who immediately transition to meaningful jobs in their chosen fields.

Innovation Capacity Building Design Sprint

We are compelled to accept this design challenge given the stats:  The unemployment rate for African American unemployment rate is 12.4%, double the national average.  For African Americans who are employed, 56% are underemployed or working in careers that do not require the degree they hold.

The Lab is excited to bring its work on career pathways, 21st century skills development and skills-based hiring to the convening, as well as lead the teams through a design process in sprint form that helps them push parameters of possibilities and partnerships, and even their current structures and service delivery models.  The sprint is part of the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), funded by Lilly Endowment, a $50 million investment over a seven-year period. The Lab will introduce participants to design tools on empathy, ideation, prototyping and iteration. We will engage as provocateurs experts who are using “non-traditional” preparation methods to help minority students succeed after college.

Toward a long-term goal of fairer educational outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities and high-need students. The Lab will utilize a design and innovation approach that has been honed over four years working with dozens of higher education institutions.

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Universities participating in the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative include:

Benedict College
Claflin University
Clark Atlanta University
Dillard University
Fayetteville State University
Fisk University
Florida Memorial University
Huston-Tillotson University
Jarvis Christian College
LeMoyne-Owen College
Morehouse College
Morgan State
Norfolk State
Oakwood University
Rust College
Spelman College
Talladega College
Tennessee State
Tougaloo College
University of Louisiana
University of West Alabama
Voorhees College
Wilberforce University
Wiley College Xavier
The institutions directly involved in this work through UNCF represent over 54,000 students across 24 institutions, about 73% of whom are Pell-eligible.
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