A degree is no guarantee of success in the job market, in particular for black college grads. Many recent black college grads are underemployed and 12 percent are unemployed, a recent research has revealed.

Helping to improve job outcomes for “54,000 enrolled students” at certain historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly black institutions (PBIs), with the help from Lilly Endowment Inc., is a program hoping to make a dent.

“These colleges and universities show promise in significantly addressing the urgent challenges facing African American college students and graduates,” UNCF president and CEO Michael Lomax said. Announced on Monday in a news release, UNCF’s $35 million Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) aims to create a range of academic programs, student internships, industry partnerships, specialty certifications, and faculty development in an effort to make a smoother transition from college to a career for black college grads.

“CPI will help ensure our graduates are prepared for and are hired into high-paying 21st-century jobs,” Lomax continued. “With strong CPI results, we will be able to make the case to others to invest in a new model — one that enables minority and low-income students by giving them the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the global marketplace.”

In a statement, Morgan State University President David Wilson said that the university is “very pleased to have Morgan included as one of the select universities to participate in the implementation of CPI, further expanding our value proposition as an institution dedicated not only to graduating our students with a high-quality education but also assisting their transition into sustainable careers afterwards.”

He added:

“The resources made available as a result of this grant will provide much-needed support in our ongoing efforts to prepare students to meet the growing needs of employers, particularly in high-demand career areas, while increasing their likelihood of future success beyond degree attainment.”

According to the university, Morgan will work closely with Norfolk State University and Tennessee State University to improve graduates’ career outcomes.