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Wabash Receives Lilly Endowment Grant for Career Preparation

Crawfordsville, IN — Wabash College has received a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to develop a series of collaborations, internships, and programs designed to prepare Wabash graduates for careers in Indiana businesses.

The grant from the Endowment totals $750,000 and will include an additional matching grant of $254,430 from the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash.

The Wabash program will be focused on four key areas: (1) the creation and testing of models for teaching and learning outside the classroom, focused on business in the state of Indiana; (2) the use of Wabash’s Indiana alumni as a strategic advantage to better prepare Wabash students to gain employment in the state; (3) assistance and mentoring for Wabash alumni who are trying to create businesses and jobs in Indiana; and (4) a study of the impact liberal arts graduates have on the business environment, to determine where successful outcomes converge.

"This grant will benefit the state by producing Wabash graduates ready to take their places in Indiana firms or to create the firms from scratch, which will build the new economic success Indiana needs," says Nancy J. Doemel, Senior Advancement Officer at Wabash. "The grant benefits Wabash students who want to stay in Indiana by giving them better preparation for the job market and, through the internships and other programs in the grant, familiarizing them with the benefits of living and working in Indiana."

Over the course of the five-year program, Wabash hopes to have a direct impact on 1,250 students, specifically influencing the career preparation of 250 students. The program includes:

• The creation of a summer business capstone immersion experience for students, using Indiana businesses and Indiana alumni as teachers;
• Partnering with Ball State University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Education, students will research ideas and create feasibility studies for 20 new Indiana businesses;
• Teaching marketing skills by observing, encountering, and problem solving by taking Wabash students to Indiana’s largest cities where students will study the state’s most prestigious firms;
• Creating a student-alumnus partnership to accomplish a real-world project in an alumnus-owned or –directed Indiana business; and
• Designing an internship experience in Indiana businesses for Wabash students.

Lilly Endowment offered all Indiana colleges and universities opportunities to receive funding for proposals that would curb Indiana’s "Brain Drain." While 90 percent of Wabash’s 2002 graduates remained in Indiana, those who left the state expressed their frustrations in trying to locate employment in Indiana.

"This Lilly Endowment Initiative offers Wabash an opportunity to sharpen the experiences it offers its students interested in establishing businesses or in gaining employment in businesses in Indiana," added Doemel, who authored Wabash’s grant proposal. "We think Wabash students have much to offer Indiana: an entrepreneurial spirit which they bring to all of their endeavors and the skills and mindset of a liberal arts graduate. We think this grant will allow us to capitalize on both."

Other features of Wabash’s program include on-campus lectures by Wabash alumni in various fields of business; alumni involvement in on-campus career preparation such as resume development, interviewing, networking, and corporate culture and etiquette; and alumnus-to-alumnus mentoring.

Finally, through work conducted at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Wabash will identify what liberal arts skills are most valued by business, and document as qualitative and quantitative evidence that can be shared with peer institutions.

For more information, contact:

Jim Amidon, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing

or Nancy J. Doemel, Senior Advancement Officer