INDIANAPOLIS (UIndy) – A $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., will boost the University of Indianapolis’ efforts to create stronger career and business opportunities for students and alumni through its new Professional Edge Center.

United Methodist-related UIndy launched the center this past fall by merging career services, alumni relations and community service functions into a coordinated effort to stoke entrepreneurship and connect liberal arts majors with mentors and career paths in leading Indiana industries.

The Professional Edge Center staff works with academic departments and alumni to develop tailored curriculum and provide students with practical experiences, professional certifications and ongoing business connections in their respective fields.

Central to the Professional Edge Center’s activities is the formation of eight teams of educators and business professionals, one to support entrepreneurism and seven others representing business sectors that are academic strengths for UIndy and vital elements of the Indiana economy: health care, financial services, manufacturing and logistics, communications, public service, nonprofit management and the arts.

Each team will include a lead faculty member, several alumni working in the selected field and other industry contacts. They will provide for students mentoring, networking and career experiences helping them to develop communication and social skills, as well as industry-specific abilities. The teams will provide feedback on industry trends, student preparedness and curriculum relevance.

UIndy Associate Vice President Corey Wilson, recently named to lead the new center, said graduates of the University of Indianapolis not only can benefit from the center’s services, but also will be crucial to its success.

“We have more than 20,000 alumni in Indiana alone, many of them playing key roles in the industries we’re targeting,” Wilson said. “They have so much experience and expertise to share with our students and young alums, and they are embracing this opportunity.”

More information on the center is available online at www.uindy.edu/professional-edge.