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Ascent Blog

Ascent is Providing Access to Paid Internships and Free Career Training  

May 09, 2024 | By: Breanna Knight
Categories: In the Press, Blog, For Schools, News, For Bootcamps

AscentUP and Riipen Partner to Launch Paid Internship Program, Exclusive to Ascent Borrowers 

  SAN DIEGO, May 2, 2024 – Ascent is proud to unveil the AscentUP Internship Program, in partnership with AscentUP and Riipen to offer its borrowers exclusive access to paid remote internships, as well as invaluable professional development training and one-on-one career coaching. Funding for the inaugural cohort was provided, in part, by a grant from Goal Beyond, a 501c3 non-profit organization with a shared mission to empower learners with practical experience and the robust skills essential for thriving in today’s dynamic workforce. 

  The AscentUP Internship Program is designed to bridge the education-to-employment skills gap and equip students and recent graduates with the skills, confidence and experience necessary to succeed in today’s competitive job market. While internships have been proven to be extremely beneficial in securing experience and future employment, the top reason for not having an internship is difficulty in obtaining one (Gallup, 2023).  Through a comprehensive curriculum consisting of custom-developed career readiness micro-courses and personalized coaching sessions, followed by a connection to project-based internships, participants will gain enhanced resume credentials, access to paid internships and increased employability prospects. 

  “Cultivating career pathways and driving durable economic mobility for our borrowers has always been at the core of our mission,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Ascent, Ken Ruggiero. “By partnering with Riipen to launch the AscentUP Internship Program, we’re not just offering internships; we’re opening doors to invaluable opportunities that can shape their futures. The first internship is often the most elusive yet crucial step in launching a successful career and we believe that by providing this access, we’re not only helping individuals gain immediate skills and experiences, but also laying down a foundation for long-term financial success.” 

  The AscentUP Internship Program addresses the following areas: 

  • Professional development opportunities: Participants receive training, coaching, and hands-on experience to cultivate essential skills and confidence for future career endeavors. 
  • Access to vetted talent: Employers gain access to a pool of skilled individuals actively seeking practical experience, reducing recruitment costs and bringing fresh perspectives from emerging talent, driving business innovation and growth. 

  “This program aligns perfectly with Riipen’s mission of empowering students with real-world work based learning experiences and augments this with proven career readiness training from AscentUP, said CEO of Riipen, Dana Stephenson. “Through this collaboration, students will gain access to the tools and skills they need to excel in today’s competitive job market, setting them up for success in internships and projects available on the Riipen marketplace. We believe that this partnership will not only bridge the gap between education and employment but also pave the way for students to thrive in their future careers.” 

  In this partnership, AscentUP will pilot the integration of its training platform with Riipen’s experiential learning marketplace, with a focus on tracking participant outcomes and income generation. By combining career readiness coaching with experiential learning, the program aims to achieve higher outcomes for our borrowers and help Ascent reach its goal of increasing income for its borrowers by $10 billion in the next five years. 

About Ascent: 

Ascent is the leading provider of innovative financial products and 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. For more information, visit    


About AscentUP: 

AscentUP is dedicated to bridging the education-to-employment gap and empowering students to achieve their full potential in the workforce. Through comprehensive training, coaching, and experiential learning opportunities, AscentUP aims to equip students with the skills and confidence needed for career success. For more information, visit 


About Riipen: 

Riipen is a leading experiential learning platform that connects students with real-world projects from industry partners. By facilitating meaningful collaborations between students and employers, Riipen aims to bridge the gap between education and employment while driving innovation in the workforce. For more information, visit 

About Goal Beyond: 

Goal Beyond is a non-profit organization, founded in 2021 and based in San Diego, CA, with a mission to create the ecosystem enabling all learners to access a quality education and employers to source talent in a rapidly evolving labor market. Our strategy focuses on four core themes to empower learners along the entire continuum of their academic and professional paths to unlock durable economic mobility. For more information, visit 

For media inquiries, please contact: 

Jessica Schwartz, Social Impact 

[email protected] 


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