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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.

A young woman training in a server room.

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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Our Three Investment Priorities

Grants to Streamline Key Learner Transitions

Tools of the Trade Evaluation

Validation
Mathematica Inc|$1,499,700|2/2024 - 1/2029
This grant supports Mathematica in conducting an evaluation that supports iterative program improvements of Tools of the Trade scholarship to maximize the difference the scholarship makes for Wisconsin apprentices seeking upward mobility.

Support for Project QUEST and Per Scholas Evaluations

Validation
Economic Mobility Corporation|$375,000|1/2023 - 12/2028
This grant supports Economic Mobility Corporation in partnering with two well-established nonprofit sectoral training providers – Per Scholas and Project QUEST – to evaluate program impacts on low-income learners’ education and labor market outcomes and to identify key program factors associated with positive outcomes.

From Training to Employment: A Multi-Inquiry Study of Noncredit Workforce Training Programs

Validation
The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of its Irvine campus|$1,605,800|5/2024 - 6/2028
This grant supports the University of California at Irvine in partnering with the Virginia Community College System to assess impacts of noncredit workforce training programs on learners’ labor market outcomes and to examine effectiveness of an innovative state-wide policy designed to incentivize student enrollment in and completion of noncredit programs in high-demand fields.

Exploring Innovative Financing to Strengthen Pre-Apprenticeships, Creating Rural Talent Finance Partnerships, and Establishing the Social Finance Institute

Scaling
Social Finance Inc|$6,014,000|1/2024 - 12/2027
This grant supports Social Finance in piloting innovative workforce training financing models to improve labor market outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds. Social Finance will design models leveraging outcomes-based funding structures in two areas: (1) to support learners in accessing and succeeding in pre-apprenticeships and (2) to catalyze training programs within specific industry sectors critical to rural workforce needs. Social Finance will also launch the Social Finance Institute as a hub for dissemination of insights from these and other initiatives, with a focus on informing public and private leaders about strategies to build sustainable and inclusive talent development pipelines.

Increasing Equity and Effectiveness in Work-based Learning and Career Preparation at Smaller Independent Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities

Validation
The Council of Independent Colleges|$1,735,592|5/2023 - 12/2027
This grant supports the Council of Independent Colleges in partnering with 25 member institutions to develop and evaluate employer-driven work-based learning projects embedded in courses. It aims to eliminate barriers to professional opportunities for learners from low-income backgrounds and improve their post-graduation career outcomes.

Investing in CodePath's Evidence of Effectiveness

Validation
Codepath Org|$1,000,000|12/2022 - 12/2026
This grant supports CodePath in establishing a body of rigorous evidence about the impacts of its programming at more than 70 colleges and universities, including technical internship placement, completion of degrees in computer science and labor market outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds.

Evaluations of Strategies to Improve Education and Workforce Success

Validation
The Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia|$1,276,000|12/2022 - 11/2026
This grant supports Dr. Ben Castleman’s University of Virginia research center in engaging in research-practice partnerships that will evaluate Merit America in Texas and Piedmont Virginia Community College’s gateway course reforms.

Beyond Transfer

Exploration
Sova Solutions|$325,000|12/2023 - 11/2026
This grant supports Sova in improving equity in transfer and credit mobility by exploring the role of accreditors in reforming institutional policies and practices that pose barriers to transfer student success.

Disrupting Occupational Segregation through Regional Postsecondary and Workforce Partnerships

Exploration
National Fund for Workforce Solutions|$2,000,000|11/2023 - 10/2026
This grant supports the National Fund for Workforce Solutions in designing and implementing regional postsecondary education strategies centered in community colleges to align training and credential programs with good jobs for learners of color from low-income backgrounds.

Building Career Pathways to Economic Mobility and Capacity Growth

Scaling
Project Quest Inc|$3,150,000|6/2023 - 9/2026
This grant supports Project QUEST in expanding its evidence-based career training and job coaching services to reach many more low-income individuals in the Bexar County, TX region. This grant leverages a major investment from the City of San Antonio and allows Project QUEST to scale sustainably.
View All Ascendium Grants

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