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Newsletter Article March 24, 2022

Ascendium Invests in Projects that Link Postsecondary Education and Workforce Data

At Ascendium, we have a keen interest in supporting projects that link postsecondary education and workforce data. Through our Streamline Key Learner Transitions focus area, we make it an investment priority to smooth transitions between postsecondary education and the workforce, which includes support for the use and sharing of data between postsecondary providers, agencies and employers. By promoting postsecondary alignment and collaboration with workforce and economic development through the use of data, we envision a future where learners from low-income backgrounds can achieve their education and career goals.

We’re pleased to support the Coleridge Initiative and their Democratizing our Data Challenge, which was designed to build on successful investments made by government agencies to collaborate, develop and scale tools and practices that garner evidence that informs education and workforce policy. Teams and their projects from the first round of the challenge were recently announced, with 10 teams from 21 agencies and seven universities receiving funding to develop actionable information. Ascendium, with co-funders the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, are all interested in aspects of the selected projects that link postsecondary education and workforce data.

The 10 teams have already begun working to develop and scale their innovative approaches to understanding employment outcomes. Their work has a special focus on improving outcomes for people seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce, including workers and learners from low-income backgrounds, at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated individuals. Those curious about the work of these teams should visit the Data Challenge website regularly for updates on their progress.

Interested in participating in the Democratizing our Data Challenge? State agencies, postsecondary institutions, nonprofits with data and research capabilities and mission-driven private organizations are encouraged to apply for the second round of the challenge. Please submit a Letter of Intent by June 15, 2022 by following instructions on the Application page of the Data Challenge website.

With funding from Ascendium, the Urban Institute also recently released a set of three reports to serve as resources for state agencies. Curated by the Coleridge Initiative, these resources aim to help states understand how Applied Data Analytics (ADA) training, Coleridge’s Administrative Data Research Facility and data linking for evidence-based policymaking can support policies that improve the connection between education and work. These reports are now available in our Resource Library.

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