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Despite mounting evidence pointing to the crucial role nonacademic staff play in removing cultural barriers to success, large-scale efforts to improve retention at community colleges and elsewhere typically focus little direct attention on interpersonal interactions between students and staff. That’s where Caring Campus comes in. Developed and administered by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC), the program engages faculty and nonacademic staff in building a culture of belonging, with promising results.
New Investments Total $17 Million+ for Dev Ed Reform, Rural Workforce Training, Skills Training Programs and More
- Investments in Dev Ed Reform, Rural Workforce Training Among $17 Million+ in Recently Approved Grants
- Merit America Skills Training Programs Generate Upward Socioeconomic Mobility
Postsecondary education and workforce training is not one-size-fits-all. Nearly two-thirds of American workers don’t have a degree, work full time and need a route to better jobs. Diverse education and training pathways help meet the needs of these historically underserved students. Merit America, a national nonprofit that prepares individuals without four-year degrees for family-sustaining careers in tech, offers a promising way forward. Ascendium will support Merit America in scaling its skills training and career placement programs in IT support, data analytics and Java web development.
Investments in Dev Ed Reform, Rural Workforce Training Among $17 Million+ in Recently Approved Grants
Ascendium recently approved nine new grants totaling over $17 million. These grants support a range of initiatives designed to help learners from low-income backgrounds, including developmental education reform, expanding pathways to upwardly mobile careers in information technology and the scaling of proven strategies to improve transfer outcomes.
Like many community colleges across the country, members of the Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA) faced challenges during and in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis. However, membership in CCA remains strong. With a grant from Ascendium, CCA will enhance their ability to support member colleges in better serving learners from low-income backgrounds.
- COVID-19 Transfer Data Reveals Trends that Can Inform Equity and Student Success Policies
- Engaging with Media Showcases Grant Partners’ Positive Impact on Inequity
- Are You Interested in a Student-Centered Partnership?
Ascendium is growing its partnerships with media organizations that share postsecondary education research and programs helping learners from low-income backgrounds achieve their education and career goals. Recently, we have added new partnerships with American Public Media, Chalk Beat, Rural Matters, Open Campus - Institute for Nonprofit News, Academic Intelligence and Restless Productions. These collaborations help get actionable information that fosters system level change into the hands of practitioners, researchers, funders and policymakers.
The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center has been reporting on student transfer patterns in near real time over the past two years. The data can help colleges and universities develop policies and system level initiatives that address student transfer and pipeline needs to support student success in the post-COVID environment. Doug Shapiro, executive director of the NSC Research Center, spoke with Ascendium to help us learn more about how this data can help inform systemic change to support learners from low-income backgrounds.
- New Grant Opportunity Available: Building Evidence to Increase Rural Learner Success
- Program Officer Perspectives: Kirstin Yeado Reflects on Rural Guided Pathways Work
- Data Tools Help Stakeholders Identify and Support Rural and Rural Serving Institutions
At Ascendium, we know there are critical gaps in the knowledge available on effective postsecondary education and workforce training policies, practices and programs that consider the unique assets of rural communities and the learners within them. Through this new grant opportunity, we will invest in applied research projects that generate actionable knowledge, yielding evidence and insights that improve outcomes for rural learners from low-income backgrounds.
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