FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education recently convened experts from colleges and universities across the state who will work to ensure public higher education curricula include essential skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, collaboration, and quantitative reasoning. Nearly three in four employers say they have a hard time finding recent college graduates with the essential soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
“Understanding how to adapt to new environments, problem solve and communicate well is as important as job-specific knowledge since the needs of our economy are ever-evolving,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Our statewide, cross-campus collaboration model will support skill-building opportunities at our colleges and universities that are intentional, accessible, and built on proven best practices.”
The Kentucky Graduate Profile Academy is made up of three members from each of Kentucky’s eight, four-year public institutions and four Kentucky Community and Technical College System campuses. CPE will provide a $25,000 grant to each institution to support its efforts.
The Academy will base its work on the Kentucky Graduate Profile, which outlines 10 essential skills that have been identified by higher education and workforce organizations:
- Communicate effectively
- Think critically in order to solve problems and create new ideas and solutions
- Apply quantitative reasoning skills to analyze and solve numerical problems
- Interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
- Adapt to changing circumstances while leading and supporting others
- Perform professionally within their chosen field of study or occupation
- Engage in civic life to improve society
- Collaborate and work in teams
- Apply academic knowledge, skills, and abilities to their chosen career
- Use information for decision-making
“Participants in the Kentucky Graduate Academy will work across campuses over a three-year period to identify and implement strategies with the goal of giving all students graduating from Kentucky’s public colleges and universities means to develop these crucial skills before they graduate,” said Melissa Bell, CPE vice president for academic affairs and student success. “To achieve that, these competencies have to be fully integrated into institutions’ academic offerings, co-curricular activities, and work-based experiences.”
The Academy will have access to CPE data and tools to implement the Graduate Profile, including the employability scan, or EScan, a method for evaluating higher education programs based on how well they prepare students to succeed in a workplace.
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