The ASCENT Leadership Program was started in 2010 under the sponsorship of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Support Services Division (SSD) as part of a strategic planning effort under the sponsorship of Jan Dean, SSD Administrator.
Two organizational development and training professionals created the SSD Managers’ Leadership Program (MLP) and the SSD Aspiring Leadership Program (ALP). These programs were based on the programs these professionals had developed for the Oregon Department of Human Resources and the Oregon Employment Department in earlier years.
In 2012, DAS-SSD and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) collaborated to provide the 2012 ASCENT Leadership Programs. The primary motivation to collaborate was to make the leadership experiences, skills and capacity building available to more state employees.
In 2013, the ASCENT Learning Coalition (ALC) was formed by an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to establish sustainable governance and resourcing of the ASCENT Leadership Program and allow for more agencies to participate. ODOT and DAS provided the initial financial and staff resources to create the program's foundation and establish a limited scholarship fund. The coalition agencies share the staff salaries and all other program costs are covered through participant tuition. The ALC is the result of this early collaboration and is grounded in ORS 190 to maximize benefits through inter-agency efforts.
The current coalition is made up of eight agencies. ASCENT has served nearly two thousand state employees from 20 different state agencies.