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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 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...

  • Identifying and scaling high-quality recognition of prior learning strategies that expand equitable on-ramps to postsecondary education
  • 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...

  • Re-enrolling of potential completers that earn a high-quality credential which leads to increased socioeconomic mobility
  • Increasing the number of learners that successfully move between education providers without losing credit, slowing their 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
  • Demonstrating commitment to learners’ career outcomes from institutions

Grants to Streamline Key Learner Transitions

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

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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.

College Promise Campaign

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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.

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.

Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship

Scaling
Wisconsin Technical College System|$270,000|8/2018 - 3/2019
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 2019 semester.

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