In November, Goshen College was awarded a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to support career planning opportunities and entrepreneurship for students on campus.
The grant, which is given over five years, will fund an endowment to continue the Student Entrepreneurship Grant Program, as well as a “Pathways to Career” program currently in development, which will, among other things, create a fellowship program to connect graduates with career opportunities.
This is the third grant the Lilly Endowment has given the college in the last 10 years. GC was among 39 schools in Indiana to receive the funding. The Endowment’s goal is to create job opportunities for college students in Indiana that strengthen graduates’ desire to seek employment instate.
Goshen’s business department aided in applying for the grant and has primary responsibility for carrying out its incentives. Michelle Horning, professor of accounting and chair of the business department, hopes the grant will give all students, not just business majors, a career process they can continue using even after college.
“We don’t want students to wake up a senior year and say, ‘What am I going to do when I graduate?’” Horning said. “We want to help students think about it for four years. It’s a process that continues for your whole life.”
The Pathways to Career program will provide just such help. It will be a four-year career development program that runs alongside the major, with three steps: career exploring, career mapping and career building. Pathways to Career will utilize existing programs such as classes through CITL or events like Super Tuesday along with the creation of new methods.
The business department is currently working to develop several fellowship positions for six, nine and 12 months at local companies in Indiana. Students will be able to apply to fellowships for after graduation and can gain work experience with a portion of the grant money paying a stipend. The fellowships will be first available to students who are current juniors.
“All first-year students are in a community learning class and are starting to do pieces of this program,” said Horning. “Freshmen students now will get the four-year program and we will make shorter versions of the career development plan for sophomores and juniors, picking up next year.”
Past grants from the Lilly Endowment have helped to fund such projects as programs for Career Services, the start-up of Java Junction and the Student Entrepreneurship Grant Program, which grants students funding to carry out business proposals and projects. The program has given more than $58,000 to students since 2005.
“We want to keep that going,” said Horning. “The grant money helps fund it and the last few years the money was raised by contributors.”
The department also plans to add a mentoring portion of the program, where students who get grants can connect with others doing similar things in the community.
Said Horning, “I hope the program will touch many students.”