INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 24, 2023) – Ascend Indiana today announced that President and CEO Jason Kloth, will step down on January 1, 2024. Kloth who helped to create the talent and workforce development organization nearly nine years ago, will serve in a consulting capacity after the first of the year to ensure a smooth transition. In addition to consulting for Ascend, CICP, and others, Kloth plans to focus on his family and spending more time with his two young children. Ascend Indiana is an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP).
“Jason and his talented team have created an organization built on values that have led to impactful work in helping thousands of Hoosiers find jobs, internships and apprenticeships,” said Mark Hill, managing partner of Collina Ventures, and founding chairman of the Ascend Indiana Board of Directors. “Jason had a vision that he brought to CICP to create economic opportunity for all and because of his leadership and his team, that vision is being realized in many ways today.”
Kloth helped launch Ascend in 2016 and to date, the organization has received more than $50 million in philanthropic funding from organizations including Lilly Endowment Inc., the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and Glick Philanthropies. The funding has allowed Ascend to advance its work as a labor market intermediary bringing together educational institutions and employers to connect job seekers to good and promising career opportunities.
“An initiative like Ascend would only be possible with the support of CICP and direct involvement of business, higher education and philanthropic leaders,” said Kloth. “It has been an honor to work with such wonderful colleagues and partners to advance our shared vision for Indiana to be a place of economic opportunity for all. I am confident that Ascend’s momentum will continue.”
“Jason’s leadership and contributions to Ascend and to CICP have been invaluable,” said Melina Kennedy, CEO, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP). “He and his team have built an organization with a strong foundation of understanding the talent supply and demand in the state, bringing together leaders across philanthropy, industry and higher education in a shared vision that is making a positive impact on thousands of Hoosiers and developing a workforce for the future.”
During Kloth’s tenure, Ascend has connected nearly 4,500 individuals to jobs, internships and training opportunities at more than 750 employers in Indiana with a focus on serving individuals from historically underserved backgrounds, including those from low-income backgrounds and first-generation college students. The organization has partnerships with 40 colleges and universities across the state.
Ascend does this work in three strategic ways, through their online job matching platform the Ascend Network; Ascend Services, which comes alongside employers and education providers to create talent pipelines to equip youth and adults with the skills they need now and into the future and through Ascend Insights, which informs public policy to create systems-level change in the labor market.
Prior to forming Ascend, Kloth served as deputy mayor of education for the City of Indianapolis under Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration. He served in several roles for Teach for America, including founding executive director of Teach for America-Indianapolis and senior vice president of public affairs. Kloth also served as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher where he was named teacher of the year as a Teach for America Rio Grande Valley Corps Member.
Kloth holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign and a Product Management Certificate from the University of Maryland – A. James Clark School of Engineering.
Kloth is active in his community and has served on a number of boards including Indiana Education Savings Authority, Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, United Negro College Fund Indianapolis, Early Learning Indiana, EmployIndy, Downtown Indy and the Oaks Academy.
CICP will work with Kloth on a transition plan, including a plan for a successor, over the next few months.