INDIANAPOLIS (June 3, 2021) – Ascend Indiana is expanding its efforts to provide high school students with new high-quality college and career apprenticeship pathways that impart the foundational skills, experiences, social capital and credentials they need to thrive in a rapidly changing economy. Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), is spearheading a coordinated effort of statewide leaders to guide the expansion of youth apprenticeships in Indiana.

To advance these efforts, Ascend has received $1 million in support from Bloomberg Philanthropies – part of a $2 million statewide investment through the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) – to support state and local partners across Indiana. This investment will strengthen and grow the regions in Indiana working to launch and scale youth apprenticeship programs that meet the needs of both Indiana youth and employers across high-demand industries. Ascend’s model will work alongside partners – including The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Commission for Higher Education, Conexus Indiana, TechPoint, Horizon Education Alliance and EmployIndy – to build a shared vision and align on next steps.

This will also involve the engagement of employers statewide, from both urban and rural areas, as well as educators, youth and parents. Through this funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, and with technical support from PAYA, Ascend will work alongside local intermediaries and partners to support regions in accelerating new pilot efforts in diverse communities throughout Indiana. These efforts will align with the vision, program definition, and policy guidance developed as part of the new model, which is critical to achieving scale over time. Ascend is inviting organizations around the state to apply for a number of planning subgrants and will distribute a total of $350,000 in funding.

This new statewide investment directly supports and builds upon Modern Apprenticeship, a pilot program launched with Marion County’s workforce development board, EmployIndy, in October 2020 for high school students in Indianapolis. Modern Apprenticeship is a paid two- to three-year work-based learning experience with local employers, where students emerge with a high school diploma, college credits, relevant credentials and professional experience.

Beginning this summer, 26 students from five Indianapolis-area township school districts and charter schools will be hired by one of 16 employers representing a variety of growing, highdemand industries including healthcare, information technology and advanced manufacturing. Regional youth apprenticeship pilots such as Modern Apprenticeship and Horizon Education Alliance (HEA), in Elkhart, Ind., will contribute to the building of a statewide system.

“As the economy continues to evolve, it is increasingly important that youth have access to flexible college options that provide paid work experience and structured pathways to degrees,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO of Ascend Indiana. “In addition to supporting pilot programs like Modern Apprenticeship, it is critical that we develop a coordinated education and employer ecosystem that provides all students throughout the state with the opportunity to develop strong skills that align with employer needs.”

“With high-quality youth apprenticeships, Indiana’s students gain experience through work-based learning, as well as earn in-demand credentials that are critical to preparing them for future success,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “By blurring the lines between K-12, higher education, and the workforce, it’s energizing to see these partnerships scale statewide, ultimately improving student outcomes and helping our students build a bright future right here in Indiana.”

“Youth apprenticeships offer an effective near-term solution with long-term benefits—not only for the students, but also for the employers and communities whose future prosperity will rely on them,” said Taylor White, national director, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship. “Indiana has the vision, partners, and plan to innovate with youth apprenticeship across the state’s diverse regions and industries, and emerge as an example for other states on how to build toward scale. We at New America are thankful and excited to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners across Indiana on this important work at this critical moment for young Hoosiers.”

About Ascend Indiana

Ascend Indiana is the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an organization that brings together industry, higher education and philanthropic leaders to advance our region’s prosperity and growth. Ascend’s vision is for Indiana to be a place of economic opportunity for all. To achieve this, Ascend bridges talent and communication gaps by creating connectivity between people and employers. Ascend has focused its efforts around three core priorities: connecting job seekers to career opportunities through the Ascend Network talent platform, catalyzing transformative employer and education partnerships through Ascend Services, and informing workforce research and public policy through thought leadership. To learn more, visit

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.

About PAYA

Created by New America, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) is a multi-year, multistakeholder initiative that aims to assist innovative organizations around the country in developing robust youth apprenticeship programs that are scaled and replicated to serve students, employers and communities alike. PAYA is comprised of eight National Partner organizations: Advance CTE, CareerWise Colorado, Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship, Education Strategy Group, JFF, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and the National Governors Association. PAYA is supported by funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ball