The QA Commons is mindful of the dramatic and transformational impact COVID-19 is having on all institutions of higher education. As an organization, we are adapting our services to support preparing graduates for the workplace that is now changing more precipitously than ever.
The QA Commons is pleased to announce the first three postsecondary education programs to receive Essential Employability Qualities Certification (EEQ CERT) －Murray State University Construction Management, Murray State University Occupational Safety and Health, and the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Medical Assisting program.
EEQ CERT signals that postsecondary programs are ensuring graduates are ready for the workforce with skills that employers say they find most needed and, to often be lacking. The eight EEQs are Communication, Thinking and Problem Solving, Inquiry, Collaboration, Adaptability, Learning, Principles and Ethics, and Responsibility and Professionalism demonstrated in a work-related context. The EEQ CERT is distinctive in that it can be applied to any discipline and brings together academic, technical and work related qualities.
The EEQs, designed to be responsive to specific employer expectations, 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.
Kentucky has been the first state in the nation to engage in the EEQ CERT program. “Employers are telling us that we do a pretty good job training our graduates in their academic area, but we don’t do as well in helping them to understand the competencies that they will need in the workplace, whether it’s showing up on time, communicating, or solving problems,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson.
Thirteen programs at campuses throughout Kentucky are currently pursuing certification. Additionally, a Faculty Employability Fellows program has been designed, in response to initial findings from EEQ Certification work, in order to get faculty more involved in creating cultures supporting employability.
With the skills gap continuing to increase, student debt loads at record levels, and underserved populations disproportionately affected, the need to ensure that ALL college graduates are equipped with Essential Employability Qualities is critical. The QA Commons has developed a comprehensive and integrated framework for postsecondary institutions’ employability work, encompassing graduate EEQ preparation, career services support, employer engagement, student & alumni engagement, and public information.
“Kentucky is truly the leader in doing this work,” said Ralph Wolff, President and founder of the QA Commons. “Our goal is that every graduate of every program in Kentucky will leave with employability skills that will prepare them well for the workforce, and that our work with CPE will contribute to improving the lives of these graduates as well as the economy of the State.”
EEQ CERT is the prototypal program of The QA Commons, which aims to narrow the gap between higher education and employment. The QA Commons is now beginning to work with other state systems and programs and welcomes interested parties to contact us about being a part of the employability movement. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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