On January 23, 2012, National Louis University announced the Education to Employment (E2) Initiative, funded through assistance from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The E2 Initiative aims to increase the percentage of students within at-risk groups such as active duty, veteran and Hispanic populations – who complete their college education and are career-ready upon graduation. The E2 Initiative will fund support services for two programs, The Veterans Program and The Harrison Fellowship, both focusing on traditionally underserved populations.
"National Louis is honored to receive funding from the McCormick Foundation for this important initiative," said Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., president, National Louis University. "For more than 125 years, National Louis has been dedicated to providing educational access to underserved populations and we look forward to extending our online learning opportunities, career services and community involvement with the E2 Initiative."
The key components of the E2 Veterans Program include helping military students integrate back to society by providing a military-friendly education and employment opportunities, both before and after graduation. National Louis also will provide military students with a single-point of contact for advising and financial aid. Specifically, the university is building an on-line portal where service personnel and veterans will have comprehensive access to a multitude of resources including federal financial aid, GI benefits, military education benefits, V.A. assistance and library access. The courses also will be offered online for active duty soldiers or those serving on bases away from National Louis' downtown Chicago campus. Additionally, a veterans' lounge will be built on the Chicago campus where students can connect with other veterans and access important resources.
National Louis currently offers veterans a 10 percent tuition discount, and has been a member of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which matches contributions of institutions of higher education when tuition costs exceed the award offered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In addition, the university has run campuses in Washington, D.C. and McLean, VA as well as offered degree programs on the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
The E2 Initiative also will support The Harrison Fellowship program, which provides services and full-time scholarships to underserved groups, many of whom are the first in a family to attend college. The grant will allow National Louis to provide career guidance, leadership advising and employment counseling to the Harrison Fellows. The Harrison Fellows program, which began in September 2010, includes nearly 70 students, approximately 80 percent of whom are Hispanic and requires the recipients to work closely with community member mentors and agree to use their education to serve and advance their communities.
The E2 Initiative will begin in fall 2012 and will run through 2014.
"National Louis is known for its expertise in social programs and serving the community," said Tim Graves, National Louis alumnus who earned his degree online while in the Navy and Veterans Program task force member, as well as veteran workforce professional. "Many active duty personnel and veterans have a keen interest in continuing to serve society after their military service, and the E2 Initiative is structured in a way that will recognize military students' different needs and provide them with a tremendous opportunity to pursue their degree and secure meaningful employment."
"National Louis is well-suited to lead this initiative because it has a strong history of serving at-risk students and adult learners, specifically active duty and veteran populations," said Don Cooke, senior vice president of philanthropy, Robert R. McCormick Foundation. "The McCormick Foundation believes local, public-private partnerships focused on a coordinated system of care are essential in making a smooth transition for veterans, and National Louis' E2 Initiative directly aligns with this mission."