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.

VISION

QA Commons’ vision is to ensure all programs of study prepare learners for successful future employment. Our focus is on the proficiencies employers say are most needed, which candidates often lack, and are the hardest to find. Known as employability skills, soft skills, or noncognitive skills, we characterize them as Essential Employability Qualities (EEQs).

EEQs are necessary to continuously succeed in the workforce. These skills are universally needed across different careers and jobs. In fact, they’re not just useful and required in jobs, they form the basis for how we interact with others in various day-to-day encounter

NEED

“The foundation of a career in a highly technical field is a set of non-cognitive skills that is necessary in every industry, such as basic literacy, communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. Without these skills, no amount of technical training will be sufficient; lacking such a foundation makes the technical skills simply “fall through,” which helps explain why technical skill–training programs, especially those for disadvantaged populations, simply do not yield the results their designers and implementers hope for…”
- American Enterprise Institute

92% of executives say soft skills are equal to or more important than hard skills
Wall Street Journal

89% of talent professionals said bad hires typically lack soft skills
LinkedIn

70% of employers report difficulty hiring graduates with the soft skills they need -
SHRM

86% of students state getting a job is their primary reason for attending college -
Strada/Gallup

IMPACT

Quality Assurance (QA) Commons was founded in 2016 with a grant from the Lumina Foundation and support from the National Center for Education Management Systems (NCHEMS). We ensure all learners are prepared for the changing dynamics of the workforce and economy through a range of services – from helping embed Essential Employability Qualities (EEQs) into courses and curriculum – to training instructors and staff on employability and deploying our programmatic accreditation.

Through considerable research and a national pilot project, QA Commons has identified eight EEQs that comprise a hire-worthy learner profile. We believe all disciplines need to prepare learners for employability – not just those that are specifically workforce-related or pre-professional. 

In its tenure, QA Commons has:

Engaged 34 institutions

Evaluated 83 programs

Accredited 14 programs

Impacted 83,000 students

2015

Convened national leaders (funded by a USA Funds—now Strada—grant). Unanimously decide that new models focusing on career readiness are vital.

2016

Research begins on bridging the gap between Higher Ed and the workplace. Awarded a Lumina Foundation grant.

2017

Co-design EEQs & the EEQ Cert process with 27 programs from 14 institutions serving over 35,000 students.

2018

Successfully conclude Pilot Program. Awarded Lumina Foundation continuation grant. Launch Kentucky EEQ Certification Initiative.

2019

Launched a Faculty Employability Fellows program, enabling faculty to learn first-hand about local workforce needs, employer concerns, and the views of the role higher education needs to play.

Need access? Please email info@theqacommons.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors oversees the organization, with a focus on mission, strategy and goals.

Mason Bishop

President

Rebecca Busacca

Executive Vice President

OUR STAFF

Mason Bishop
President
Rebecca Busacca
Executive Vice President
Michelle Deasy
Vice President of Operations
Dina Igoe
Director of Communications
Rebekah Hutton
Director of Product Development
Dorinda Byers
Senior Advisor
Ralph Wolff
Founder & Senior Advisor

 

“For the rapidly changing jobs of today and tomorrow, “soft skills” are no longer just something to pick up “somewhere.” Technology, offshoring, and roboticization are but a few of the challenges graduates will face, and skills such as collaboration, adaptability, and continuous learning have become essential for ongoing employability. We need to integrate essential employability qualities with academic content and theory to prepare graduates for meaningful careers. That’s why we created The Quality Assurance Commons.”

— Ralph Wolff

INDEPENDENT REVIEWERS


QA Commons works with a cadre of experienced, professional educators to review Employability Self-Assessments and EEQ CERT portfolios. Click HERE to view our Independent Reviewers and their bios.

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