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UTB Receives Funding for Student Retention and Career Connection Pilot Project 

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – MARCH 30, 2012 – The University of Texas at Brownsville School of Business has been awarded a $90,000 grant from The Meadows Foundation designed to improve student retention, graduation rates and career placement.

Meadows Foundation Awards Grant to School of BusinessThe grant will finance a pilot project designed by the School of Business to connect UTB students with the local business community to ensure student retention, the building of soft skills for the workplace and opportunities that lead to employment. Simultaneously, the program will provide employers with a flow of experienced, appropriately credentialed graduates who can enter entry-level professional positions.

“This project has invaluable potential for our students and local businesses,” said Dr. Mark Kroll, Dean of the School of Business. “It will allow students to focus on their studies while simultaneously having employment in an area of interest, complete with mentoring. We are extremely pleased that businesses in our community are expressing an interest in this effort.”

This pilot project works to carry out part of the continuum plan of the Partners for Postsecondary Success Initiative that was initiated in July 2011. With United Way of Southern Cameron County, UTB joined area partners to focus on six critical points identified by PPS to shepherd students toward high school and university graduation followed by gainful entrance into the workforce: preparation, connection, entry, progress, completion and employment.

The School of Business pilot program will begin with a cohort of 50 students who wish to pursue business careers in retail or financial services and who need to work while they are in school with hopes to expand the program the second year.

“This program is based on expectations held by both the student and the employer,” Kroll said. “The employer will work with the student to develop their career potential with the firm as long as the student performs well at work and makes satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.”

UTB will hire a full-time academic and career coach who will engage in intrusive counseling of the cohort students to insure satisfactory academic progress, work with employers in addressing school or work conflicts and communicate with the students’ families in order to build support at home.

Kroll said the pilot program’s success will determine a possible second year of funding from The Meadows Foundation.

The Meadows Foundation is a Dallas-based, private philanthropic institution established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows to benefit the people of Texas.

For more information, contact Dr. Mark Kroll at 956-882-5803 or mark.kroll@utb.edu.

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