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.


Ten new Certified programs

The QA Commons is proud to announce ten new college and university programs that are EEQ Certified. Nationwide, this raises the total number of programs producing graduates equipped with the Essential Employability Qualities (EEQs) employers say are most needed and too often lacking to 13. The following programs are newly EEQ certified: 

University of Kentucky Bluegrass Community & Technical College
Murray State University Gateway Community & Technical College
Jefferson Community & Technical College

Programs that are EEQ certified by the QA Commons connect academic, technical, and employability skills and contextualize these skills within their unique disciplines. 

“While we started the process of certifying these collegiate programs before the COVID-19 pandemic, they have demonstrated the exact attributes needed for this challenging time,” said Ralph Wolff, president and founder of The QA Commons. “An investment in higher education must lead to greater employment opportunities. We’re starting to see more colleges and universities stressing this importance of designing their programs around supporting employability.” 

All 13 programs certified to date are from Kentucky, a state which recognizes the importance of ensuring its workforce is prepared for success. Work on this investment began in November 2018, when the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education launched its employability initiative in partnership with The QA Commons. The initiative prepares graduates for workplace success and advances cognitive and social development of learners while preparing them to succeed professionally. 

“Kentucky is leading the nation in its commitment to ensuring anyone who invests in their education can do so knowing it will result in greater professional opportunities,” said Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. “This is an acute issue, not just in Kentucky. Our work will provide a roadmap for how to do this project nationwide.”  

The QA Commons certifies programs through a comprehensive and integrated framework of EEQ criterion including: graduate preparation; career services integration; employer engagement; student and alumni engagement; and public display of career information. This certification is distinctive in that it can be applied to any discipline. 

“The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is committed to preparing our students for the 21st century workforce. We are very proud of the Equine Science and Management program for earning an Essential Employability Qualities Certification. This certification is a strong signal to employers that students who graduate from this program are prepared with the skills necessary to succeed in the equine industry,” said Carmen Agouridis, associate dean for instruction, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

In certifying these first 13 programs, The QA Commons learned what it takes to build the capacity to make changes to earn certification. As a result of those lessons, The QA Commons expanded its work. It is partnering with programs across the United States to assess the employability needs of students, build capacity to support changes necessary for employability to be an outcome of programs, and bring together like-minded educators. 


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