Dordt was awarded a $24,945 NetVUE Vocation Across Academy Grant from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant is a three-year matching grant where the initial $24,945 is distributed in year one. Dordt then raises that same amount of funds in year two of the grant cycle, and NetVUE awards an additional $10,000 in year three, after the match has been met. Funds from the grant will allow the college to dig deeper into the concept of vocational discernment and how the StrengthsFinder tool, an assessment tool used with every incoming freshman, can be better leveraged at Dordt.
Amy Westra, associate director of career development, was the driving force behind securing the grant. Westra worked with faculty and staff to draft the grant proposal.
“I personally am excited to see a stronger focus on the StrengthsFinder tool and helping students link that to vocation and careers that may be a good fit for them,” Westra says.
The funds will also be used to create a new one-credit elective course. The course will assist students who continue to struggle with identifying God’s specific vocational calling in their lives.
“In the past, the career development center has offered a workshop for students, but finding a time that works for students given their busy schedules has been a struggle. A course being offered for academic credit increases the credibility for students,” Westra says.
Funds from the NetVUE grant will be used for training for faculty and staff, as well as to develop a student coaching initiative. Student coaches will be trained to conduct one-on-one coaching sessions with their peers and also assist in facilitating workshops.
“We are doing our best here at Dordt to be intentional with student development needs. This career development initiative is an exciting vocational exploration opportunity to reflect upon how God has gifted each of our students,” says Provost Dr. Eric Forseth. The intentionality seems to be paying off—99.7% of Dordt’s 2017 graduates reported being employed or enrolled in continuing education opportunities.
The funds will be available to Dordt from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021.