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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Michelle Batt


Design Challenge Lead

Michelle is a Design Challenge Lead for the Lab’s Badging Challenge. Michelle is also the President of Lead by Experience, offering strategic and tactical consulting to help leadership teams across: business, health care and education improve their customer experience.

Through her coaching, Michelle loves to “gently” break up typical functional silos to stimulate collaboration and steer change management across organizations. She integrates new, cost effective, ways to capture and understand customers’ expectations, wants and needs.

Prior to establishing her own business, Michelle held executive positions in telecommunications at MCI and NII Holdings where she held the position of Senior Director of Customer Experience. Michelle earned a Masters of Arts degree in Education: Curriculum & Instruction from Loyola College in Maryland and completed an Executive Certification in Global Leadership from Georgetown University – the McDonough School of Business.


Michael Meotti photo-2

Michael Meotti

Higher Ed Fellow

Mike brings extensive experience in higher education policy, innovation and management to Education Design Lab’s work.   Mike has a broad perspective on the challenges facing colleges and universities based on his past leadership positions in state government, nonprofit organizations and higher education systems. He has led transformation initiatives in all of these sectors.

Mike served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and Executive Vice President and chief operating officer of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. 

Mike was a member of the Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the Federal Relations Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).  He led the Connecticut delegation in the National Governors Association Best Practices Academy “Complete to Compete” and in Complete College America.  Michael was also active in the state policy track of Achieving the Dream and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Coalition for the Common Core Standards.  He earned his J.D. and B.S. degrees from Georgetown University.

Prior to his work in higher education, Mike led several nonprofit organizations that provided services addressing the needs of many “first generation” and returning adult students.