Streamline Key Learner Transitions | Ascendium Education Group Skip to main content

EDUCATION PHILANTHROPY DIVISION OF ASCENDIUM EDUCATION GROUP

Streamline Key Learner Transitions

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

See Grants in This Focus Area
focus area page Streamline

How We See the Problem

Leveraging workforce training, 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 and through postsecondary education and workforce training

Means we support...

  • Identifying, validating and scaling high-quality, nontraditional postsecondary education and training models, such as apprenticeships, career pathways, short term credentials and competency-based education
  • Promoting collaboration between postsecondary education and non-degree providers

Which will lead to...

  • Increasing learners’ understanding of the credentialing landscape and equitable pathways to careers
  • Increasing learner completion of nontraditional postsecondary education and training that enhance their readiness and access to employment, sustainable career pathways and additional education
  • Recognition from the traditional academe of high-quality, non-degree credentials and training, resulting in accessible and equitable pathways to additional education and careers

An investment priority to...

Ease transitions between, and returning to, postsecondary providers

Means we support...

  • Reforming policy and practice to improve transfer and application of credit at system, state and regional levels
  • Supporting effective strategies to reengage adult learners with some college, but no degree

Which will lead to...

  • Learners with some college but no degree re-enrolling and earning a high-quality credential
  • Increasing the number of learners who successfully move between education providers without losing credit, slowing momentum or delaying credential completion

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 promote successful job placement leading to socioeconomic mobility

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
  • Postsecondary institutions demonstrating commitment to learners’ career outcomes

Grants to Streamline Key Learner Transitions

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.

Building Stackable Credential Pipelines that Support Equity and Provide Pathways

Validation
The RAND Corporation|$483,900|10/2021 - 3/2023
This grant supports RAND Corporation in examining stackable credential pipelines in two states to determine whether learners from low-income backgrounds benefit from stackable credentials, whether they face barriers in accessing these pathways and which institutional and system level policies and programs strengthen equity. The goal is to inform efforts within the two states and nationally to build effective and equitable stackable credential pipelines for learners from low-income backgrounds.

Workforce Aligned Postsecondary Education: Understanding the Way Forward

Validation
Urban Institute |$990,000|9/2021 - 3/2023
This grant supports the Urban Institute in assessing which workforce-aligned approaches of postsecondary education institutions are most critical for the success of learners from low-income backgrounds in the labor market. The Urban Institute will conduct a multi-faceted research project, including a return on investment analysis that will ultimately provide information on promising and effective programs, policies, resources and strategies that support success for learners.

Hana Career Pathways in Healthcare

Exploration
University of Hawaii Foundation|$500,000|12/2020 - 12/2022
This grant supports the University of Hawaii System (UH) in developing articulated career pathways that lead from high-demand, entry-level healthcare occupations to advancement in skills, education, career and earnings. UH will develop clear career pathways and institutionalize the necessary policies and data infrastructure that provide opportunities for learners to transition from non-credit job training to credit-based degrees by leveraging apprenticeships and stackable industry-valued credentials.

Development of a Comprehensive Transfer Blueprint

Exploration
Kent State University Foundation Inc|$1,092,414|7/2019 - 12/2022
This grant supports Kent State University in developing transfer pathways with three partner community colleges that streamline student progress to a degree.

Midwest Credential Transparency Alliance

Scaling
Midwestern Higher Education Compact|$1,280,400|12/2020 - 12/2022
This grant supports the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and Credential Engine in developing the Midwest Credential Transparency Alliance. Intensive work in five states and regional coordination across the 12-state region will contribute to significantly expanding the public repository of detailed, accurate information about postsecondary credentials available to learners, employers, schools, and state agencies.

Scaling Community College Partnerships to Expand Access to Technology Careers

Scaling
Generation USA|$1,000,000|5/2021 - 11/2022
This grant supports Generation USA in expanding their proven model of supporting learners from low-income backgrounds in accessing quality technology training that leads to upward socioeconomic mobility and careers through community college partnerships. Over the course of 18 months, Generation USA will test three types of partnerships with community colleges with a goal to successfully scale their model.

Redesigning StudentTracker

Scaling
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center|$1,343,000|5/2020 - 10/2022
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.

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.

Career Advising Tools and Outreach for Low-Income College Graduates-Planning Phase

Exploration
The Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia|$284,300|12/2020 - 6/2022
This grant supports the University of Virginia in developing a personalized job recommendation tool and intrusive advising resources designed to improve employment outcomes for low-income community college graduates.
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