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Media Partnerships Call Attention to Critical Issues and Solutions

June 17, 2024 4-minute read

High-quality reporting and storytelling can spread insights about innovative, evidence-based solutions, helping good ideas lead to systemic change. That’s why Ascendium takes a comprehensive approach to media partnerships. To inform and inspire people as to what’s possible in postsecondary education and workforce education, we work with organizations large and small and in a variety of formats to meet audiences where they already are.

These recent stories from some of our media partners encapsulate how reporting and storytelling can call attention to critical issues and solutions while encouraging policy and institutional leaders to address these issues in their own communities. In short, these stories put our theory of change into action.

Highlighting diverse voices and innovative solutions.

  • “Raising Up: A Student Parent Film Series” by Three Frame Media is a five-part docuseries following parents on their journeys through postsecondary education. “Raising Up” celebrates the one in five learners who are parents while highlighting practices to support them. Ascendium sponsored the fifth episode, which is focused on the translation of a degree into a meaningful career, job security, and generational impact.
  • “Is the secret to getting rural kids to college leveraging the entire community?” by Javeria Salman, published in The Hechinger Report, examines how community collaboration can increase the 55% of rural learners who attend college directly after high school. Springboarding off conversations at the sixth annual Rural Summit, the article raises solutions for rural educational attainment, including place-based partnerships of local organizations that work together to improve outcomes for learners and families.
  • “Texas wind energy firms need more technicians. Can they drum up student interest without state support?” by Sneha Dey, published in The Texas Tribune, provides an in-depth look into the misalignment of the growing Texas wind industry and the state’s one wind energy technology training program to satisfy this growing demand. Despite being a well-paying, high-demand field, the wind industry has received little political support, resulting in a workforce gap. In response, wind companies are developing their own training programs to connect workers with jobs.

Demonstrating rural community colleges’ role as engines of economic growth and innovation.

  • “Some rural states are cutting higher ed. One state is doing the opposite” by Kelly Field, published in The Hechinger Report, spotlights Kentucky’s efforts to expand postsecondary education opportunities. With the aim of spurring economic growth by combatting low college attainment in rural southeast Kentucky, the state’s efforts could ultimately serve as a model for other educational deserts across the country.

Highlighting the importance of state-level policy alignment to support the success of incarcerated learners.

Highlighting opportunities and challenges in aligning education and workforce.

  • “Can Texas apprenticeships put a dent in the nursing shortage?” by Erin Strout, published in Work Shift, highlights Texas’ new registered nurse apprenticeships to address the acute nursing shortage. The apprenticeships use an “earn as you learn” model to bring more people into nursing, including first-generation learners, parents, and those who could not afford it otherwise. The growing popularity of these apprenticeships attests to the model’s potential to build a robust nursing workforce in other states, too.
  • “Public infrastructure on skills” by Paul Fain, published in Work Shift, examines the challenges and opportunities in creating a skills-based economy. The stakes are whether governments and employers can build the infrastructure to reliably assess and validate skills, make aggregated achievements legible in the labor market, and connect talent with opportunities.
  • “Waiting for projected jobs” by Paul Fain, published in Work Shift, foregrounds the burgeoning electric vehicle, semiconductor, and artificial intelligence industries to examine hiring cycles in new and emerging tech industries. Learners may, for instance, complete a training degree in an upcoming field before positions are available. One solution raised in this article is for educational institutions to build programs around the needs of local employers.

With key industries facing worker shortages, learners reentering society without formal postsecondary education, and state and local governments looking for ways to strengthen talent pipelines, innovative policies and practices like those featured above can support learners from low-income backgrounds while meeting workforce needs. These media partners’ recent work calls attention to the need for solutions that center learners as vital parts of local communities and economies.

Learn more about our current media partnerships.

Work Shift Has a New Website!

Work Shift is a digital hub that provides sophisticated reporting and analysis on whether education and training are meeting society’s evolving needs. Check out their website’s new look and location!