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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.

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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.

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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

Supporting a Multi-State Education-Workforce Data Infrastructure

Scaling
Coleridge Initiative Inc|$550,348|9/2020 - 2/2022
This grant supports the Coleridge Initiative in developing and delivering training classes for two states to build capacity for state education and workforce agencies in the use of data to improve education and workforce transitions. The Coleridge Initiative will partner with state-based public policy staff and college-based data science programs within each state to develop curricula, deliver ongoing applied data training to state agency staff and build new analytical products to inform the design and development of effective education and training policy and practice.

Next Generation Sector Partnerships National Benchmarking & Rural Affinity Group

Validation
Next Gen Sector Partnerships|$379,375|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.

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.

The Future of Associates Degree for Transfer in LA

Exploration
UNITE-LA Inc|$115,400|12/2020 - 12/2021
This grant supports UNITE-LA in convening Los Angeles Community College District and California State University leaders in a focused, facilitated planning process to craft action plans to improve the effectiveness of Associates Degree for Transfer pathways for low-income students in the region.

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.

Constructing a Predictive Analytic Model to Adult Learner Pathways

Exploration
The Graduate! Network Inc|$260,000|6/2020 - 9/2021
This grant supports The Graduate! Network in developing a platform-agnostic quantitative and qualitative analysis of their data to construct a predictive analytic model to further understand patterns in adult learner pathways to degree completion. The analyses produced from this project will ultimately culminate in a report that will inform institutional policies and practices to further support adult learner re-engagement strategies and increase degree completion.

HBCU Degree Completion Pilot

Exploration
Delaware State University Foundation Inc|$216,200|9/2020 - 8/2021
This grant supports the Delaware State University Foundation in piloting an online college degree completion program for near-completer students in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University and Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Text Steps Summer Melt Texting Initiative

Scaling
National College Attainment Network|$32,000|1/2021 - 8/2021
This grant supports National College Attainment Network in amplifying the impact and reach of Text Steps, a Wisconsin-based initiative funded by Ascendium since 2018.

Tackling Transfer Phase II

Scaling
The Aspen Institute Inc|$1,200,000|7/2018 - 8/2021
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.

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