The Los Angeles-based Hispanic Scholarship Fund announced Wednesday that a $30.7 million, six-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will be used to create a comprehensive program to help Hispanic students nationwide navigate each step of their path from college to career.
“While we currently provide scholarships and support services to thousands of students, our ultimate goal is to ensure that they graduate with a clearly defined path to a meaningful and rewarding career,” said Fidel A. Vargas, president and CEO of HSF. “This grant will help HSF to provide a host of critical services and programs — from early career planning, preparation and discernment, to career exploration and personalized guidance — that will help students make smart academic and career choices and be more prepared to succeed in today’s workplace.”
To help with long-term sustainability of the Hispanic Career Pathways Initiative, which is set to launch in September 2020, $5 million of the grant will be allocated to an endowment. That portion of the grant is subject to a matching condition to encourage other funders to contribute to the endowment.
According to the HSF, about half of Latinos who enroll in college are the first in their family to do so, and are often at a significant disadvantage when making major and career choices, lacking the knowledge, networks and experience necessary to secure a good first job that leads to a successful career. As a result, Hispanics are 10 percent more likely to be underemployed and 33 percent more likely to be working in a low-skilled job than non-Hispanic whites.
“This grant builds on Lilly Endowment’s long-held interest in helping students intentionally envision and prepare for their future careers,” said N. Clay Robbins, its chairman, president and CEO. “By leveraging HSF’s strong relationships with its higher education partners and alumni and an impressive array of employers across the country, the Hispanic Career Pathways Initiative holds great promise to improve the lives of Hispanic students and their families for years to come.”