FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has been awarded a $200,000 Lumina Foundation grant to help prepare graduates with essential employability skills that enhance employment, earnings and equity outcomes, and to develop a data system to track the progress.
Kentucky is one of nine states chosen from a pool of 23 states to participate in Lumina’s new national grant program to help develop next-generation approaches to quality assurance and improvement in higher education.
“This grant is really great news for Kentucky higher education since it builds upon our existing work in quality assurance and equity, while providing a more complete picture of student and graduate outcomes at both the two-year and four-year levels,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson.
“Lumina Foundation is excited to collaborate with the Kentucky Council on this effort to assure quality outcomes for students across the state’s diverse colleges and universities,” said Lumina Foundation Vice President Debra Humphreys. “Today’s economy demands far more from workers, and the entire state of Kentucky will benefit from assuring that opportunities for quality learning beyond high school are provided more equitably and broadly.”
The project aligns to CPE’s commitment to meet Kentucky’s current and future workforce needs through high-quality innovative programs.
The grant calls for developing and validating an employability audit tool to determine whether academic programs are successfully transferring employability skills to their graduates. Employers say these skills, ranging from adaptability, critical thinking and problem solving to teamwork, communication and professionalism, are often lacking in graduates.
Another deliverable of the 18-month grant is to enhance student outcome metrics around employment and earnings, allowing for disaggregations by race/ethnicity and income to ensure all students with similar academic backgrounds are achieving equitable results after graduation.
Key external partners for the project include QA Commons, Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), Kentucky Department of Revenue, and Kentucky’s public and private postsecondary institutions.