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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.

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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.

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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

Scaling Education to Employment Solutions

Exploration
America Achieves Inc|$150,000|4/2020 - 7/2020
This grant supports America Achieves in developing actionable recommendations for how philanthropy and the public sector can work together to scale high potential postsecondary education to employment initiatives.

Creating Postsecondary Pathways for Thread Students

Exploration
Thread Inc|$277,000|7/2019 - 6/2020
This grants supports Thread in an effort to conduct a planning initiative to audit, strengthen, and codify their relationship-driven approach to supporting underserved young adults in five core postsecondary pathways: two-year degree completion, four-year degree completion, entrepreneurship, trade school/apprenticeships and straight-to-workforce.

Text Steps Summer Melt Texting

Scaling
Ben Castleman|$7,875|5/2018 - 5/2020
This grant supports Ben Castleman in providing consulting to the 13 Wisconsin public school districts participating in the Text Steps summer melt project.

Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship

Scaling
Wisconsin Technical College System|$271,500|8/2019 - 4/2020
This grant supports $1,500 scholarships awarded to up to 180 construction and industrial trade apprentices attending a Wisconsin Technical College System college during the spring 2020 semester.

Text Steps Summer Melt Texting-WSCA Travel Grants

Scaling
Wisconsin School Counselor Association|$10,000|10/2019 - 2/2020
This grant supports the Wisconsin School Counselor Association in providing travel grants to the 13 Text Steps districts to attend the 2020 WSCA Annual Conference.

College Promise Technical Assistance Initiative Phase II

Validation
MDRC|$1,000,519|1/2018 - 12/2019
This grant supports MDRC efforts to increase the retention and persistence rates of students who receive College Promise scholarships at four selected programs by providing technical assistance in the design and implementation of evidence-based student success interventions that supplement financial support.

Labor Market Playbook

Scaling
The Aspen Institute Inc|$368,000|6/2017 - 7/2019
This grant supports The Aspen Institute in creating a set of tools to help community colleges improve students’ labor market outcomes through replicable, evidence-based practices and strategies for strengthening employer collaboration.

Career Ready Internship Grant-Four-year institution program evaluation

Validation
MDRC|$413,999|4/2016 - 6/2019
This grant supports MDRC in evaluating Ascendium's Career Ready Internship program. MDRC will analyze data from each of the 33 CRI sites and conducting student and employer surveys to assess impact on student persistence and experience, college-employer relationships, program implementation and scale and sustainability.

Enhancing the Reverse Transfer of Credit Pathway

Scaling
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center|$300,000|11/2017 - 4/2019
This grant supports the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center in improving and expanding institutional use of its reverse transfer platform to retroactively award degrees earned by students before they left college.

College Promise Campaign

Scaling
Civic Nation|$250,000|5/2018 - 4/2019
This grant to Civic Nation supports the College Promise Campaign’s 2018 efforts to promote the development and expansion of college promise programs, foster high-impact college promise programs that increase student opportunity and success, and build broad public support for College Promise programs.
View All Ascendium Grants

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