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.


QA Commons’ mission is to ensure all learners are prepared for the changing dynamics of the workforce and economy. 

QA Commons’ work is centered on an Employability Framework that consists of eight Essential Employability Qualities (EEQs), as well as five standards of care for educational programs seeking to ensure their completers are prepared to succeed in the workplace and advance through a career.

The work helps education and training leaders and their faculty and instructors more clearly understand the rapidly changing needs of employers by building a culture that supports employability as a priority outcome. Services include assessment, technical assistance, professional development, programmatic certification, and student badging.


“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

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

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


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 to certifying academic and training programs.

In its tenure, QA Commons has engaged 34 institutions, evaluated 83 programs, certified 22 programs, and impacted 83,000 students.


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


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


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


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


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.


Partnered with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) in a program-level Employability self-assessment to contribute to the system's updating of the program review process.


Partnered with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission to offer EEQ Certification to DEAC-accredited schools. Engaged in the evaluation of the #Prepared4PA pilot programs in Pennsylvania.


Student Employability Badging Offered to EEQ Certified programs through the Credly platform. Providing employability curriculum and professional development to the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Need access? Please email info@theqacommons.org


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

Mason Bishop



Mason Bishop
Mason Bishop
Michelle Deasy
Vice President
Michelle Deasy
Abby Kelly-Smith
Evaluation Lead
Abby Kelly-Smith
Dr. Megan Hartline
Marketing Lead
Dr. Megan Hartline


QA Commons’ cadre of experienced professional evaluators review EEQ CERT portfolios and other employability assessment instruments. Click HERE to view our Independent Reviewers and their bios.


Read about the programs that meet the EEQ Certification Standards. 

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