Our response to COVID19

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.


National Employability Reports

The Project on Workforce

An interdisciplinary collaboration of the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Graduate School, and Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Project on Workforce produces basic and applied research at the intersection of the education and labor markets for leaders in business, education, and policy. Their reports help chart the course for a postsecondary system of the future that creates better pathways to economic mobility.

Future of Work Report: AI at Work (November 2023) 

The second LinkedIn Future of Work Report: AI at Work, builds on the first report released in August 2023. The report notes that “As jobs change with the incorporation of AI and become a collection of skills and tasks, workers will be more productive and spend less time on repetitive tasks, making unique people skills like leadership and creativity even more valuable. If professionals combine AI skills with people skills, they will stay competitive in a job market that will increasingly value skills that AI cannot reproduce.”

Future of Work Report: AI at Work (August 2023) 

This report from LinkedIn provides new data showing how AI is shaping the world of work and how professionals and companies are adapting to this emerging technology. The report notes that “Since the launch of ChatGPT, some of the fastest-growing skills in job postings in the US are people skills, such as flexibility and ethics.”

Future of Jobs 2023

The 2023 edition of this annual report by the World Economic Forum “brings together the perspectives of 803 companies – collectively employing more than 11.3 million workers – across 27 industry clusters and 45 economies from all world regions. Amongst its many findings are that analytical and creative thinking are the year’s most important skills for workers. Additionally, employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years, with cognitive skills growing in importance most quickly.

What Employers Are Saying About Higher Education

This 2023 report by the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses what employers are thinking about skills and degrees and provides general themes around what colleges must do to ensure their students are prepared for the workplace –  incorporate skills training into curricula, foster skills like resilience and the ability to deal with complex situations, and communicate better with employers.

Delivering on the Degree: The College to Jobs Playbook

This 2023 report by the Harvard-Kennedy School’s Project on Workforce provides a framework to help colleges better deliver on the American Dream. The review of existing academic research is reviewed through a set of common criteria, creating a comprehensive taxonomy of the landscape of college-to-jobs programs and policies. Thirteen “interventions” within the college ecosystem that can be used to ease the transition into good jobs in the workforce are identified.

The Power of Work-Based Learning

This 2022 report by the Strada Education Network examines the evidence around the importance of work-based learning experiences to post-graduation outcomes. Disparities in access to paid internships for women and underserved populations are also examined.

Success Beyond Completion: How Can We Best Measure Student Outcomes?

This 2022 report by the Strada Education Network examines post-graduation outcomes as a meaningful measurement of student success.

Gaps in Employability Skills and Workforce Preparedness Among College Graduates

In 2020, the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities (APLU) commissioned a comprehensive survey of employers, faculty, alumni, and students that explored the top employability skills preparedness gaps among college graduates. More than 11,000 Employers, Faculty, Alumni, & Students were part of the survey and the two resultant reports are designed to help provide universities with data-driven insights on employers’ needs that administrators and faculty could consider when changing or updating academic programs.

The Soft Skills Gap Virtual Forum

This May 2020 virtual forum can be viewed on-demand. The panelists examine the disconnect between the lessons higher ed teaches and the skills employers need, and how colleges can bridge that gap. Hosts include Goldie Blumenstyk, a Chronicle of Higher Education senior writer, Jeff Selingo, a New York Times best-selling author, and Sebastian Distefano, Adobe’s global manager of strategic development. The discussion focuses on the intersection of soft skills and digital literacy in an environment that is increasingly remote and digital. Access to the slides and the program guide are also available.

LinkedIn 2019 Global Talent Trends Report

This annual report provides data-driven insights into the changing world of work. The 2019 report noted soft skills as a new key trend. The report notes that “92% of talent professionals and hiring managers agree that candidates with strong soft skills are increasingly important and that 89% of respondents felt that “bad hires” typically have poor soft skills.

Career Ready Education

A 2019 report from the Chronicle of Higher Education: Beyond the skills gap, tools and tactics for an evolving economy. The report asserts “colleges can meet the changing demands of the economy without being overreactive or reductive. The goal isn’t to turn every institution of higher education into a job-training center, but there’s no shame in adding relevance.”

Workplace Basics – The Competencies Employers Want

This 2020 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce examines the competencies workers need in their occupations and how those competencies interact with their educational attainment to determine their earnings. The report shows which competencies are in high demand both across the workforce and in specific occupations, and details how the intensity with which workers use in-demand competencies can affect their earnings.

Development and Validation of a Global Competency Framework for Preparing New Graduates for Early Career Professional Roles

Part of a multi-year project that began in 2015, this 2020 research paper from Higher Learning Research Communications (HLRC), develops a behavioral competency framework that defines the competencies required by graduating students to be successful in the global workplace, enhance their employability, and lead to sustained professional success.

Closing the Skills Gap

A 2019 joint project of Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace, this report shares survey results from 600 human resource leaders about their hiring practices, barriers to identifying qualified candidates, and challenges that limit talent development programs. A goal of the study is to initiate a dialogue that bridges the communication gap between employers and educators.

Future of Work in America

A 2019 report from the McKinsey Global Institute that looks beneath the national numbers on automation and examines the present and potential future of work for different people and places across America.

The Work of the Future:Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines

The MIT Work of the Future Taskforce was tasked with understanding the relationships between emerging technologies and work, to help shape public discourse around realistic expectations of technology, and to explore strategies to enable a future of shared prosperity. This 2020 report examines the institutional frameworks around work, including how education and training programs can be made more effective and inclusive, as well as new ways of empowering workers who may never have the protections afforded by traditional union structures.

Unlocking the Nation’s Potential

In 2018, Lumina Foundation appointed and convened a Quality Credentials Task Force comprising 22 leaders in education, policy, and workforce development. This report presents the ideas to facilitate the collaboration that is vital to building an updated, integrated system of quality assurance that will expand across and strengthen equity.

Viewpoint: The Case for Soft Skills

This 2019 article by the Society for Human Resource Management reports that firms care about soft skills because employees who possess them can directly impact a company’s bottom line.

Robot Ready

A 2017 report on findings from the Strada Institute for the Future of Work reveals opportunities for learners, learning providers, employers, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to unpack human skills across careers and industries and radically transform our education-to-employment pathways.

Rethinking Employer Engagement in a Changing World

A 2019 article from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation on co-designing assessment and learning and the need to rethink employer engagement in a changing world.

Ready for Jobs

A 2018 publication of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities asserts that broader education and employment preparation are not mutually exclusive goals, nor have they ever been. The report suggests public universities focus on both goals to best serve students, society and the economy; that they continue, decisively and with resolve, to evolve and incorporate strategies to increase student employment and career success.

New Foundational Skills for a Digital Economy

A 2019 publication of the Burning Glass Higher Education Forum presents 14 foundational skills that play major roles in the economy and in the lives of job seekers and incumbent employees.

Business Leaders Believe Students Learning Skills, But Not Those Needed to Advance

A 2019 article from Inside Higher Education reports that while business leaders are generally confident in higher education for entry-level jobs, their faith diminishes with regards to skills graduates will need to advance in the workplace.

Automate This: Building the Perfect 21st-Century Worker

Report from third way about the four skill sets that will make people successful and resilient in the new economy.

Employability in a Global Context: Evolving Policy and Practice in Employability, Work Integrated Learning, and Career Development Learning

Trans-national research report to answer the question “How is employability defined, driven and communicated by universities internationally?”

Building Supports for Successful Transitions Into the Workforce

Committee for Economic Development report from 2017 “listening tour” of business leaders and parents to discuss first-hand information about workplace demands and aspirations for high school graduates.

Learning for Life and Work

On March 19, 2018, the Commission on Higher Education and Employability released its final report. It details 19 recommendations, as well as strategies for stakeholders to collaborate to increase the employability of the region’s graduates.

APLU Report: Ready for Jobs, Careers, and a Lifetime

A college degree matters more than ever before. In the post-recession economy, job gains have been far better for those with college degrees than for those with only a high school degree. Students are clear that a primary purpose for enrolling in college is to get a good job and to put themselves on a path to a successful career. Employers and the public increasingly feel that universities are not doing enough to prepare students for employment. Universities feel a degree must involve a broad education, though certainly many—probably most—in the public university community agree on the need to prepare students for employment. Broader education and employment preparation are not mutually exclusive goals, nor have they ever been.

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