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.

Ascendium’s Approach

We support diverse pathways to technical education and workforce training, efforts that ease returning to and transferring between postsecondary institutions and initiatives that smooth transitions between postsecondary education and the workforce. 

Streamline Key Transitions v3

Outcomes we seek

The outcomes we seek measure progress across areas that include: providing learners with the information they need to understand the education landscape and take advantage of career pathways; increasing numbers of learners with some college but no degree efficiently completing a degree or high-quality credential; and fostering collaborative efforts around data coordination between postsecondary and workforce systems with learners’ needs and goals in mind.

How we work

We fund initiatives that develop multiple pathways into training and certificates; promote collaboration between education, non-degree credential partners and workforce systems; align transfers between institutions at system, state, and regional levels; and ultimately work to ensure that learners are well-prepared to enter and advance in the workforce.

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, 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 - 2/2023
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.

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.

Next Generation Sector Partnerships National Benchmarking & Rural Affinity Group

Validation
Next Gen Sector Partnerships|$408,375|1/2020 - 12/2021
This grant supports the 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
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.

Expansion of the Promise Ecosystem Initiative and Employer Symposiums

Scaling
College Promise Campaign|$250,000|1/2020 - 6/2021
This grant supports the College Promise Campaign in the expansion of their efforts to build awareness and generate momentum for the College Promise movement across the country, with a particular focus on tying Promise programs to career and workforce development.

Tackling Transfer Phase II

Scaling
Aspen Institute Inc|$1,200,000|7/2018 - 6/2021
This grant supports The Aspen Institute in helping three states—Minnesota, Texas and Virginia—adopt transfer reforms to promote bachelor’s degree attainment among students who begin at community colleges. This project will also produce learnings about the conditions and strategies for replicating or adapting comprehensive transfer reforms in other states.
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