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Goshen, Bethel launch new programs to help students get jobs

Almost $2 million was doled out to two local schools.
Posted on Dec. 8, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Two local schools are starting new programs to help graduates get jobs with help from the Lilly Endowment.

Goshen College and Bethel College were awarded Lilly Endowment grants recently.

Goshen College received $1 million.

Jim Caskey, vice president of institutional advancement, said that $200,000 of that will go to support an existing entrepreneurial grant for students. The rest will pay for two new programs over five years.

The “pathways to careers” program will include opportunities to use Goshen’s downtown Launch Pad, as well as networking events with local businesspeople. Once in the program, students can choose to participate in different opportunities each year until graduation.

The second program is a fellowship allowing students to work with a local business for six months after graduating.

“It’s kind of a risk-free trial run,” Caskey said of the fellowship.

After the fellowship ends, companies may hire the graduate, or the graduate may move on — but with that job experience.

These programs will be run by existing staff.

Bethel College received $868,021.

Erin Kinzel, assistant director of marketing and communications, said that the college has plans to start four new programs and hire some new staff to run the programs.

Bethel will offer a one-year program to allow people with bachelor’s degrees to get additional training to transition to a biotech career. The college collaborated with local business leaders, politicians and WorkOne, and decided that biotech companies are in need of skilled workers. Part of the Lilly grant money will be used to purchase equipment, prepare facilities and potentially hire a program director for this new project.

A second new program might involve Bethel staff partnering with local businesses to teach workers some soft skills, like communication and leadership. This could also involve the college offering a certification program on campus. The Lilly grant money will pay the salary of a new employee to oversee this project.

Other Bethel initiatives include spending $40,000 on up-to-date communications equipment for Bethel’s new media center and funding a career services specialist for adult students.


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