Lilly Endowment Inc. awards VU $2.5 million grant

Lilly Endowment Inc. awards VU $2.5 million grant

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September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund programs that strengthen workforce development, dual credit career and technical education, and that help diversify the pipeline of students headed into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

Lilly Endowment made the grant through Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. It is an initiative to strengthen higher education attainment in Indiana, and help colleges and universities better prepare students for successful, meaningful lives while improve long-term institutional financial sustainability.

VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson agrees, “We are extremely grateful to Lilly Endowment for its continued generous support not only of Vincennes University, but also higher education in general in our state. During these challenging times, this kind of support will help us continue building on the important work we are doing in Vincennes, Jasper, Indianapolis, and throughout Indiana.”

One initiative that will be supported through the grant will be VU’s partnership with major Central Indiana employers to help expand technical education and work-based learning opportunities in the critical advanced manufacturing sector. By partnering with the Central Indiana and Hoosier chapters of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program, VU will help to address the critical need for skilled automation technicians. The Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program, offered in Central Indiana, will offer students the ability to earn a high-quality VU associate’s degree while gaining valuable training and paid work experience with leading advanced manufacturing employers.

Johnson added, “Advanced manufacturing is vital to Indiana and beyond and a highly skilled technical workforce is critical for manufacturers to remain globally competitive. VU is proud of our history of working closely with employers to prepare students for these high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers.”

Recognized as a leader in workforce development, VU has a reputation for working closely with employers to solve pressing workforce needs and delivering technical education to thousands across the state. The University is dedicated to training and educating the most qualified workforce in vital fields such as robotics, mechatronics, aviation, diesel technology, advanced manufacturing, logistics, health care, and others through hands-on, equipment-intensive learning experiences.

VU’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Early College program helps foster college and career readiness among high school students preparing for high-paying, high-demand jobs. VU is delivering enhanced CTE education through a new program, titled Techmester, a summer residential experience where CTE Early College students attend classes on the Vincennes campus. The new program will provide students with the opportunity to learn in VU’s state-of-the-art labs and will allow VU faculty to engage students about career opportunities and employability skills.

Jobs in STEM provide tremendous career opportunities and play a powerful role in driving our economy and VU’s third grant-supported initiative is designed to ensure that Hoosiers of all backgrounds have an on-ramp to STEM education and careers. VU will be developing a summer STEM Academy focused on high school students interested in learning about STEM careers and the postsecondary educational paths needed to pursue them. The program will work closely with industry and K-12 partners, including the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG).

Versions of Techmester and the summer STEM Academy will be offered at various VU locations, including the Vincennes and Jasper campuses.

Thanks to Lilly Endowment, VU is able to better prepare students for achievement in college and beyond and meet the evolving needs of higher education.

This implementation grant to VU was awarded under the second phase of Lilly Endowment’s three-phase Charting the Future initiative. In this phase, Lilly Endowment invited proposals that present promising strategies that will result in economies of scale and other cost efficiencies to enhance the viability and financial condition of the institutions and prepare graduates for rewarding employment and to live engaged and meaningful lives, especially in Indiana. Grants under a third phase, which is competitive, will be awarded in 2021. Those grants will support collaborative efforts that seek to have large-scale impact on the ability of higher education institutions in Indiana to fulfill their educational missions.