EEQ Certified programs foster a distinctive set of attributes in their graduates. These qualities are intended to prepare graduates to make important contributions in their workplaces.

The qualities are not specific to any discipline, field, or industry, but are applicable to most work-based, professional environments; they represent the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences that help ensure that graduates are not only ready for their first job, but also support learners’ foundation for a lifetime of engaged employment and participation in the rapidly changing workplace of the 21st century.

 See Who’s Certified!

Graduates of EEQ CERT Programs are:

These eight Essential Employability Qualities, developed based on research from the QA Commons’ 2016 pilot study, are defined here. Additionally, programs participating in EEQ CERT are scored on five categories that represent a comprehensive and integrated framework for employability:

The five certification categories are defined here.

EEQ CERT portfolios are reviewed by a body of independent reviewers. Reviewer recommendations are sent to a a sub-committee of the Board of Directors for final certification decisions. 

“Employers are telling us what they look for and need in their employees. [EEQ CERT] builds bridges from the classroom to the workplace to fulfill those needs, while adding significantly more value to the degrees our students earn by their ability to thrive in a rapidly changing workplace over the duration of their careers.”

Aaron Thompson
President, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

For more information, contact Ralph Wolff, President or Michelle Deasy, Director of Operations &  Planning.


For Higher Ed

The 21st century workplace has changed dramatically — as have the needs of society for an educated citizenry. New QA approaches are needed to respond that:

  • Evaluate demonstrable learning outcomes
  • Ensure quality for the variety of credentials offered
  • Recognize that standards and criteria must continually evolve to meet changing needs

For Employers

Enhancing strategic connections among post-secondary and higher education institutions, academic programs, and employers is vital. Actions can include:

  • Convening Stakeholder Councils that comprise employers, academic leadership, government, and students that can help guide goals and outcomes
  • Ensuring employers that learning institutions take their needs seriously
  • Demonstrating to employers seeking capable career candidates that graduating students have the skills and competencies needed to succeed in the workplace
  • Increasing the extent to which employers are engaged in the design, development, and evaluation of programs

For Students

Students are increasingly diverse in terms of age, preparation, racial and ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic status, and attendance patterns. Higher education can:

  • Assure that graduates are prepared for work and life in 21st century, especially helping more graduates feel their college experience has helped prepare them for a career
  • Serve under-represented student populations effectively
  • Demonstrate learning gains for more college graduates

Pilot Program

Research and results from our EEQ Pilot Program developed criteria to certify practices that support EEQ development, which entails the “cognitive and social development of learners as individuals, professionals, and social citizens.”

  • What? The EEQ Pilot
  • Who? The QA Commons and 27 programs from 14 higher education institutions
  • Why? To assure students and prospective employers that a program of study provides quality preparation for employability
  • How? Explored and co-designed viable ways to assess and affirm the presence of evidence-based practices and outcomes that support EEQ development
  • When? During the 2017–2018 academic year

Learn more about what our participants said about the experience

If you’re interested in learning more about our work, please contact

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