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Streamline Key Learner Transitions

Our philanthropy supports institutions and systems to facilitate seamless transitions between educational and career opportunities after high school.

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How We See the Problem

Leveraging workforce training systems, 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.

Ascendium’s Approach

We support diverse pathways to technical education and workforce training, efforts that ease returning to and transferring between postsecondary institutions and initiatives that smooth transitions between postsecondary education and the workforce. 

Streamline Key Transitions v3

Outcomes we seek

The outcomes we seek measure progress across areas that include: providing learners with the information they need to understand the education landscape and take advantage of career pathways; increasing numbers of learners with some college but no degree efficiently completing a degree or high-quality credential; and fostering collaborative efforts around data coordination between postsecondary and workforce systems with learners’ needs and goals in mind.

How we work

We fund initiatives that develop multiple pathways into training and certificates; promote collaboration between education, non-degree credential partners and workforce systems; align transfers between institutions at system, state, and regional levels; and ultimately work to ensure that learners are well-prepared to enter and advance in the workforce.

Grants to Streamline Key Learner Transitions

Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship

Wisconsin Technical College System|$271,500|8/2019 - 4/2020
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 2020 semester.

Text Steps Summer Melt Texting-WSCA Travel Grants

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

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

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

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.

Enhancing the Reverse Transfer of Credit Pathway

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.

College Promise Campaign

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.

Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship

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.

Tackling Transfer

Aspen Institute Inc|$292,379|1/2018 - 7/2018
This grant supports the Aspen Insitute's work with states and institutions to improve the policies and practices that enable students from community colleges to transfer to public colleges and universities.

2015-2018 Career Ready Internship Grant

Loras College|$516,464|10/2015 - 5/2018
This grant supports 33 four-year colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to collaborate with businesses and nonprofit organizations to offer paid internships to juniors and seniors who demonstrate financial need.
View All Ascendium Grants

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