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Newsletter Article June 09, 2021

New Podcasts Shine Light on Rural Voices, Partners

Building off the momentum and positive results from the first partnership, Ascendium and Rural Matters are teaming up once again for an eight-part podcast series focused on postsecondary education and workforce training in rural communities. Each podcast will feature the voices of rural leaders, learners, researchers and more, highlighting important topics that impact rural learners from low-income backgrounds and their communities.

The podcasts will cover topics like:

  • Innovative programs and studies undertaken by rural colleges and universities.
  • Upward socioeconomic mobility for rural learners.
  • How postsecondary institutions have navigated the COVID-19 health crisis.
  • How businesses and postsecondary education providers can collaborate to find jobs for students, train students and develop sustainable workforce programs.

To kick off the podcast series, host Michelle Ramthun spoke with four rural community college presidents. Dr. Lisa Larson, president of Eastern Maine Community College, and Dr. Chad Brown, president of Zane State College, both provided insights on Education Design Lab’s BRIDGES Design Challenge, supported by a $1.9 million grant from Ascendium. Angel Reyna, president of Madera College, and Jay Faulkner, president of Carl Albert State College, also provided remarks on how their institutions plan to overcome challenges in the aftermath of the COVID-19 health crisis. They received support from an Ascendium grant to the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement to explore solutions through the creation of a Rural Community College Leader Learning Community.

Both projects highlighted by college presidents in the first episode help Ascendium better understand rural institutions and rural learners from low-income backgrounds, an often-overlooked population in postsecondary education and workforce reform efforts.

Be sure to tune in to upcoming Rural Matters episodes. A new episode will debut each month throughout 2021 — we’ll continue to share new episodes when more become available!

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