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CPE launches employability initiative to prepare graduates for workplace success

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), joined by representatives from six Kentucky colleges and universities, launched an employability initiative that will bring together employers and educators to assess and affirm that higher education programs prepare graduates for the workforce.

In partnership with The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education, Kentucky’s Essential Employability Qualities Certification (EEQ CERT) initiative is designed to assure that higher education programs graduate students with essential employability qualities including:

  • People skills such as collaboration, teamwork and cultural competence;
  • Problem-solving abilities such as inquiry, critical thinking and creativity; and
  • Professional strengths such as communication, work ethic and technological agility.

“Employers are telling us what they look for and need in their employees. This strategic initiative builds bridges from the classroom to the workplace to fulfill those needs, while adding significantly more value to the degrees our students earn by their ability to thrive in a rapidly changing workplace over the duration of their careers,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson.

Essential employability qualities play a vital role in workplace success to ensure jobseekers not only get a job but stay employed. Employability is defined as the ability to find, create and sustain work and learning across working lives and multiple work settings.

“Colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are looking forward to participating in this rigorous process to ensure student effectiveness skills and program competencies meet employer demand for skilled graduates,” said KCTCS Chancellor Kris Williams, the system’s chief academic officer.

Participating institutions include Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Gateway Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Kentucky State University, Murray State University and the University of Kentucky.

“As an employer, I welcome the opportunity to work with President Thompson, the Council and other employers on this important initiative,” said Pat Murphy, chair of the Employer Advisory Council and UPS workforce planning manager. “Ensuring Kentucky’s graduates have these essential skills boosts their employability for companies like UPS, while building a more highly skilled and competitive workforce for our state.”

Twenty programs at the associate and bachelor’s levels will be assessed during the 18-month initiative.

For more information about EEQ CERT, visit https://theqacommons.org/eeqcert/.

To learn more about Kentucky’s initiative, visit https://theqacommons.org/eeqcert/kentucky-eeq-certification-initiative/.