Promising Practices for Developing Essential Employability Qualities

In the 2017-18 academic year, The QA Commons partnered with 27 programs from 14 colleges and universities to co-design the Essential Employability Qualities Certification. As a result of our work together, we identified several programmatic and institutional promising practices to support students’ development of these qualities. Below are brief descriptions of these promising practices.

Employability is the ability to find, create and sustain work and learning across lengthening working lives and multiple work settings.

EEQ Development & Assessment

  • Degree programs intentionally designed to develop, address, and assess expected EEQ exit proficiencies so there is assurance that all students will graduate from the program fully prepared.
  • Applied research projects designed to addresses real problems in a partner employer’s organizations.
  • Course-embedded community service projects that allow students to directly apply their learning to real community needs.
  • Specific assignments designed so that students can learn content while also practicing different EEQs (e.g., written proposals, presentations, team-based formats, etc.).
  • Experiential learning pathways that allow students to apply their learning in work-relevant situations at several points throughout a program.
  • Team-based capstone projects situated in workplaces and co-taught with employers.
  • Classes co-taught with employers; employers involved in directly assessing student work.

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Career Development, Planning, and Support

  • Courses intentionally designed to support students in understanding the world of work and its expectations.
  • Career development programming integrated across the curriculum and over time, such as embedded career planning activities in courses.
  • Guest speakers from industries and organizations embedded in courses to engage students in considering industry or organization-specific career possibilities.
  • A cross-campus integrated approach to career preparedness through civic engagement.

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Student Records

  • Enhanced student records that convey students’ EEQ development and outcomes in visually accessible and appealing ways.
  • Competency-based badging practices that communicate students’ abilities in visible, verifiable ways.

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Employer Engagement

  • Employer engagement models that go well beyond a traditional Advisory Board into authentic partnerships, or even “employer-attached” curriculum and pedagogy (where employers serve as co-faculty and assessors of student work).
  • Employers and programs working together to develop and test new approaches, such as badging, developing talent pipelines through partnerships, and work-integrated learning modules.

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Graduate / Alumni Feedback

  • Use of findings from well-designed alumni surveys, which address not only program satisfaction but also graduates’ sense of preparedness for employment, graduate employment outcomes, and feedback for program improvement.
  • Purposeful inclusion of alumni who employ program graduates into advisory boards or other feedback mechanisms.

We’re grateful to our partner programs for their contributions to this work! Read the full EEQ CERT Pilot Finding Report HERE.

New Resource: Merging Work and Learning to Develop the Human Skills that Matter

We just added a few new resources to our Resource Library. This one in particular will be of interest to programs and institutions looking to redesign their curricular approach and partner with employers to better address the Essential Employability Qualities in their educational programs.

Merging

Merging Work and Learning to Develop the Human Skills that Matter – from Pearson and Jobs for the Future.

This report showcases promising practices from the US and UK to suggest a forward looking agenda for education and training, moving from uncertainty to the economic advancement of all learners. Some of the strategies profiled include:

  • competency-based education, which allows learners to show what they know as soon as they know it and move quickly to the next level;
  • employer and industry-led models, which radically lower the opportunity costs of education by providing further training on the job;
  • the latest labor market intelligence tools and techniques, which provide educators with powerful insights into the changing skills marketplace;
  • dynamic and work-based pedagogy, to instill the critical skills needed for the future of work; and
  • new pathways and business models that support access and completion for learners at any point in their career and at virtually any income level.