Collaborative Opportunity Grant, 21st Century Skills Cohort

USU’s Collaborative Opportunity Grant 21st Century Skills Cohort is sponsored by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF). The initiative provides seed grants to universities innovating in the field of 21st-century skill development. This workgroup is led internally by USU Deputy Executive Director, Christel Perkins, and Assistant Director, Melissa Rivas.

USU will award $50,000 to 12participating universities that collaborate with external partner organizations to address 21st Century skills delivery to low-income, first-time in college, and/or transfer students. As a part of three cohorts: Disrupting Structures for 21st Century Skills, Prototyping a 21st Century Curriculum, and Charting 21st Century Pathways, universities will address three goals.

1) Identify and move equity-based innovations that address 21st Century Skills development from niche areas on campus and/or pilot stages, to scale internally and eventually externally;

2) Increase the adaptation of innovative approaches that more effectively connect learning (e.g., curriculum, experiences) to workforce needs; and

3) Create and fortify partnerships that bring new resources and support necessary changes that sustain and scale innovation.
Participating Universities

California State University, Los Angeles
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Memphis
University of New Orleans
Virginia Commonwealth University


institutions represented


awarded to participating universities


urban community-based organization partners

USU 21st Century Workforce Strand: Virtual Conversation: The Future of Work

USU 21st Century Workforce Strand: Virtual Conversation on Badging and Credentialing

Scaling Success: Higher Education Responding to 21st Century Workforce Needs