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Ascent Blog

Ascent Partners with Social Finance to Support The Master’s Apprentice Program!

Jun 03, 2024 | By: Ascent
Categories: In the Press, News

Denver, CO (May 29, 2024) — Denver-based trade school The Master’s Apprentice today announced a partnership with the Colorado Pay It Forward Fund, a job training initiative designed to help more Coloradans enter in-demand careers. Through this partnership, qualifying Master’s Apprentice students can access zero-interest loans to help them pay for living expenses as they complete the program’s hands-on, six-week training.  

Though The Master’s Apprentice is no-cost for students, many are unable to leave full-time work to enroll in the program. These living expense loans address financial challenges so students can focus on training. All loan repayments are recycled into the Fund to support future learners. The loans are originated by Ascent Funding, a leader in outcomes-based lending and student success.  

“Our program provides transformative instruction and leads participants to well-paying careers in the skilled trades, if they can commit to six weeks of training,” said Scott Flores, Chief Operating Officer of The Master’s Apprentice. “This partnership provides a bridge over financial barriers for students, making it possible for more people to make that commitment and begin the next chapter of their lives.” 

“We’re excited to be leading the Colorado Pay It Forward Fund’s investment in The Master’s Apprentice,” said Andrew Chen, Vice President of Impact Investments at Social Finance. “The Master’s Apprentice has a track record of successfully placing graduates in trades apprenticeships and entry-level construction jobs, helping them access economic mobility. The program is also building a pipeline of more diverse, skilled talent for local employers. It’s a win-win.”  

Founded in 2013, The Master’s Apprentice is a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares workers for in-demand careers in a variety of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, & air conditioning (HVAC). In addition to hands-on learning in workshops, participants receive instruction in financial literacy, construction math, and other soft skills to prepare them for success in the job market. The program serves students from diverse backgrounds, including young learners (ages 18-36) and those who were previously incarcerated. Over 80% of Master’s Apprentice graduates land industry jobs after training, earning starting wages that are on average $8,000 higher than their previous salaries.

Eden, a single mother with some prior training in the trades, struggled to land a job in the industry. She enrolled in The Master’s Apprentice after learning that their intensive program would help broaden her skills. The zero-interest loan, which she used to cover rent, kept her afloat during training. 

Before she even graduated, Eden received multiple job offers. She accepted a position as a Cabinet and Furniture Restoration Technician at Furniture Medic, as the role provided a pathway into a career she is passionate about. Today, she makes double what she was earning previously in her retail job. 

“Enrolling in The Master’s Apprentice was the best thing I could have done. It not only gave me the skills I needed to start a new career, but it provided me with a loan that allowed me to focus on my training without worrying about how I would pay my rent,” said Eden. “Now I have a job that I’m passionate about. I’m not just making ends meet, I’m building a future for myself and my daughters.”  

The Colorado Pay It Forward Fund is an initiative of national nonprofit Social Finance and five Colorado foundations, including Colorado Gives FoundationThe Colorado Health FoundationGary Community VenturesWalton Family Foundation, and other local donors. The Fund aims to strengthen the workforce development ecosystem in Colorado by providing low-or-no interest loans to learners, training providers, and employers to train more workers for the state’s most in-demand jobs.  

Students interested in enrolling in training with The Master’s Apprentice can apply here. Enrollment is currently opening for training starting on June 24. More information about the Colorado Pay It Forward Program is available at  


About Social Finance  

Social Finance (SF Advisors, LLC) is a national nonprofit and registered investment advisor. We work with the public, private, and social sectors to create partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives. Our Impact Investment team designs, launches, and manages impact-first investments. Our Advisory team partners with government and philanthropy leaders to implement data-driven programs for social impact. And through the Social Finance Institute, we aim to build the field and change systems through actionable research, communities of practice, and educational outreach. Since our founding in 2011, we have mobilized more than $350 million in new investments designed to help people and communities realize improved outcomes in workforce and economic mobility, health, and housing. Learn more at       

About Ascent

Ascent is the leading provider of innovative financial products and wrap-around student support services that enable more students to access education and achieve academic and economic success. Everything Ascent offers is designed with the best-in-class teams and technology to increase every student’s ability to plan, pay, and succeed. Ascent’s rare Outcomes-based Loan provides funding to credit-invisible borrowers who generally do not benefit from traditional credit. Ascent products also include: Cosigned LoansSolo LoansCareer LoansParent LoansGraduate Loans, Access Loans, Enterprise Loans and Impact Loans. 

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