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.

MISSION

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

Bridging the gap between education and employment, QA Commons’ work centers on an Employability Framework that consists of five standards of care for education and training providers: Development of Essential Employability Qualities (also known as “soft” or “transferrable” skills), Integrated Career Support Services, Employer Engagement, Learner Engagement, and Transparency of Outcomes.

QA Commons helps education leaders and their faculty and instructors more clearly understand employers’ needs and develop solutions for post-completion success. Services include professional development, program certification, student employability badging, internship preparation, evaluation, and consulting.

NEED

Employers overwhelmingly believe employability skills (also known as “soft skills”) are as important as technical or “hard” skills. At the same time, the large majority of employers report difficulty hiring workers with the soft skills they need. Advances in technology are only accelerating the demand for skills such as communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and teamwork. No longer do we need to train workers to execute rote activities. However, education and training programs often focus on academic knowledge and technical skills. To transcend socio-economic barriers and access opportunities in the workforce of the future, learners and workers must have a clear understanding of workplace opportunities and expectations and be intentionally guided in their development of Essential Employability Qualities.

Read the Letter from the Executive Director

HISTORY & 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 – to consulting on existing work-readiness initiatives.

In its tenure, QA Commons has engaged over 40 institutions, evaluated over 100 programs, and impacted over 85,000 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.

2020

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.

2021

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.

2022

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

2023

Received a 3-year grant from Ascendium Education Group. Engaged in Noncredit Quality Assurance work.

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.

Jeffery Keith

Board Chair and Treasurer

Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy

Dr. Marcela Reyes

Kendra Thayer

Jeff Cain

Board Secretary

Roberts Jones

TEAM

QA Commons is led by one full-time Executive Director and a team of part-time consultants with domain expertise.

Michelle Deasy
Executive Director
Michelle Deasy
Mason Bishop
Strategic Advisor and Project Lead
Mason Bishop
Craig Weiner
Career Services and Employer Engagement Specialist
Craig Weiner
Abby Kelly-Smith
Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Specialist
Abby Kelly-Smith
Dr. Chris Mayer
Future of Work and Higher Education Specialist
Dr. Chris Mayer
Jennifer Wies
Assessment and Accreditation Specialist
Jennifer Wies
Catherine Parker
Data Analyst
Catherine Parker
Chloe Moody
Writing and Research Associate
Chloe Moody

CERTIFIED PROGRAMS

Read about the programs  that have been through the EEQ Certification process. 

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