Skip to main content

EDUCATION PHILANTHROPY DIVISION OF ASCENDIUM EDUCATION GROUP

Streamline Key Learner Transitions

Our philanthropy supports institutions and systems to facilitate seamless transitions between educational and career opportunities after high school.

See Grants in This Focus Area
FocusArea StreamlineTransitions Header

How We See the Problem

Leveraging workforce training systems, transferring between postsecondary providers and entering or re-entering the workforce are pivotal moments in a learner’s career or academic journey. Institutions and systems can implement policies and practices that inadvertently make these transitions difficult. For example, when curricula don’t align, or information systems are incapable of sharing data effectively, students risk losing credits, momentum and money. The jump from postsecondary education into the workforce also presents challenges, especially when institutions offer programming that does not align with the skills employers need.

Download The PDF
Streamline09202x

Ascendium's Approach

An investment priority to...

Explore diverse pathways to technical education and workforce training

Means we support...

  • Identifying, validating and scaling high-quality career and technical credentials, training and certificates
  • Promoting collaboration between postsecondary education systems and non-degree credential providers

Which will lead to...

  • Learners understanding the credentialing landscape and viable pathways to careers
  • Learners earning career and technical credentials that enhance their readiness and access to employment, sustainable career pathways and additional postsecondary education
  • The traditional academy recognizing high-quality workforce training and technical credentials, resulting in accessible and equitable pathways to careers

An investment priority to...

Ease transitions between, and returning to, postsecondary providers

Means we support...

  • Identifying and scaling high-quality prior learning assessment policies and practices that provide equitable on-ramps to postsecondary education
  • Improving alignment and application of transfer/reverse transfer policy and practice, and supporting infrastructure collaboration for new transfer pathways at system, state and regional levels
  • Diversifying reengagement strategies

Which will lead to...

  • “Potential completers” with some college/no degree re-enrolling to complete a degree or high-quality credential that leads to meaningful employment
  • Learners accumulating and transferring credits into a program of study that leads to a timely degree or credential without excess credits

An investment priority to...

Smooth transitions between postsecondary education and the workforce

Means we support...

  • Promoting postsecondary alignment and collaboration with workforce and economic development
  • Expanding data infrastructure and information sharing between postsecondary education providers and the workforce
  • Scaling effective institutional policies and practices that ensure learners are prepared for workforce transition

Which will lead to...

  • Postsecondary and workforce systems sharing data to provide learners with relevant education that meets economic and workforce needs and learners’ goals
  • Institutions demonstrating commitment to career development and readiness

Grants to Streamline Key Learner Transitions

Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarships

Scaling
Wisconsin Technical College System|$1,035,000|8/2020 - 4/2023
This grant supports the Tools of the Trade Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to construction and industrial trade apprentices attending a Wisconsin Technical College System college. Each spring, 230 apprentices with financial need receive funds to help cover the cost of equipment, work clothes and other related expenses.

Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship: Jim Elliott

Scaling
Milwaukee Area Technical College|$257,500|8/2013 - 4/2023
This grant supports the Jim Elliott Tools of the Trade Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to students in apprenticeship programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Each spring, 20 apprentices with financial need receive funds (initially $1,000, increased to $1,500 in 2018) to help cover the cost of equipment, work clothes and other related expenses.

Equity Transfer Initiative

Exploration
American Association of Community Colleges|$1,000,000|10/2020 - 9/2022
This grant supports the American Association of Community Colleges in increasing equitable student transfer outcomes. In partnership with the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Equity Transfer Initiative will provide direct coaching, technical assistance, and ongoing support to selected pairs of two- and four-year institutions as they develop new transfer pathways for degrees leading to high-demand careers.

Development of a Comprehensive Transfer Blueprint

Exploration
Kent State University Foundation Inc|$1,092,414|7/2019 - 6/2022
This grant supports Kent State University in developing transfer pathways with three partner community colleges that streamline student progress to a degree.

Redesigning StudentTracker

Scaling
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center|$1,343,000|5/2020 - 12/2021
This grant supports the National Student Clearinghouse in rebuilding StudentTracker, the primary data platform used by educational systems and institutions to track student-level postsecondary enrollment in the United States. The new StudentTracker will reduce the technological expertise required for users, consolidate data into a single platform, and provide enhanced reports and visualized analytics, with the goal of significantly expanding access and utilization nationwide.

Pathways to Success for Students with Some College No Degree

Validation
Tennessee Board of Regents-The College System of Tennessee |$225,000|10/2020 - 12/2021
This grant supports the Tennessee Board of Regents - The College System of Tennessee in researching pathways to success for adult students with some college credit but no degree. This project will identify the various supports necessary to increase success for adults who return to college.

Next Generation Sector Partnerships National Benchmarking & Rural Affinity Group

Validation
Next Gen Sector Partnerships|$408,375|1/2020 - 12/2021
This grant supports Next Gen Sector Partnerships in creating a formal analysis of the impact of the more than 80 Next Gen Sector Partnerships currently operating nationwide. The analysis will inform the codification of best practices and the development of training materials for use in the expansion of rural public and private partner networks working toward regional vitality and expanded opportunity.

Degrees When Due

Validation
Institute for Higher Education Policy|$618,000|1/2018 - 12/2021
This grant supports the Institute for Higher Education Policy in conducting the impact research component of the Degrees When Due initiative, a national effort to advance degree reclamation for the “some-college, no-degree” population. This research includes an examination of current degree reclamation strategies and student-level postsecondary and employment outcome data.

Implementing Competency-Based Education at Scale

Exploration
Kentucky Community and Technical College System Foundation Inc|$613,915|6/2020 - 11/2021
This grant supports the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in developing and executing an in-depth planning process to understand the system, academic and structural changes necessary for a statewide implementation of competency-based education within its general education, career, and technical and workforce training programs.

Strengthening Guided Pathways through Workforce

Scaling
The Aspen Institute Inc|$1,089,700|10/2019 - 9/2021
This grant supports the Aspen Institute in operationalizing the Ascendium-funded Workforce Playbook by engaging community college leaders in a variety of contexts through additional curricular materials and embedding the Workforce Playbook into the existing guided pathways framework.
View All Ascendium Grants

Subscribe and Stay Connected

Get Ascendium news right to your inbox, from grant announcements and project spotlights to where you can find our program staff in the field.

Newsletter Sign Up