Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind., was recently awarded a $1,000,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as a part of the Endowment’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities through Educational Collaborations. The initiative aims to encourage and enhance efforts to help Indiana college graduates find meaningful employment in the state.
“Grace will use the grant to create a Career Advantage Center centered on applied learning,” explained Carrie Yocum, vice president of administration and compliance at Grace and one of the key grant writers. “Applied Learning” is a concept that emphasizes commitment to analytic inquiry, active learning, real-world problem solving, and innovation, with a goal of linking knowledge and skills acquired in work, community, and research activities with knowledge acquired in the classroom and through traditional schoolwork.
The Career Advantage Center will create a more cohesive and comprehensive job-development, placement-focused department at Grace. The department will work to increase the number of applied learning opportunities and internships and focus on raising the percentage of graduates employed in Indiana after graduation.
The college currently offers 160 approved applied learning opportunities for all students, 90 percent of which are located in Indiana. Since the inception of the applied learning program in January of 2012, 137 students have earned applied learning credit, and about a third of participating companies in the last two years have connected with Grace students for employment after college.
“We are always looking for ways to build our students’ preparedness for an increasingly competitive job market,” said Grace president Bill Katip. “Through the generosity of Lilly Endowment and the hard work of many here on the campus and in the community, we will be able to make significant progress towards that goal.”