Three Kentucky Programs are first in the nation to ensure all graduates are ready to succeed in the workforce | BCTC

Three Kentucky Programs are first in the nation to ensure all graduates are ready to succeed in the workforce

Published on Mar 1, 2020

Medical assisting

The QA Commons certification is awarded to collegiate programs in which students learn key employability skills

OAKLAND, Calif. - Three higher education programs in Kentucky are the first in the nation certified for ensuring all college graduates are equipped with the essential employability qualities (EEQ) employers say are most needed and too often lacking. Murray State University's construction management and occupational safety and health programs and Bluegrass Community & Technical College's (BCTC) medical assisting program were recently certified by The QA Commons by demonstrating their graduates have the skills needed to participate in the rapidly changing workplace of the 21st century.

"Graduates from an EEQ-certified program are learners, thinkers and problem solvers. They're adaptable, principled and ethical," said Ralph Wolff, president and founder of The QA Commons. "Employers will have greater confidence knowing that graduates of these programs are prepared for engaged employment. Programs producing graduates who are able to find, create and sustain work and learning within multiple work settings will become the gold standard."

The QA Commons certifies programs that are reviewed under a comprehensive and integrated framework in the categories of EEQ graduate preparation; career services integration; employer engagement; student and alumni engagement; and public display of career information. This certification is distinctive in that it can be applied to any discipline. Programs that are EEQ certified connect academic, technical and employability skills and contextualize these skills within a unique discipline. This framework addresses employability beyond the first job.

"Graduates must be prepared for a lifetime of success. It's a great honor for Kentucky to be at the forefront of a national shift toward embedding career education in collegiate programs. I hope that what we've accomplished in Kentucky through our partnership with The QA Commons can serve as a model for programs throughout the country," said Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of the

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and the first higher education leader in the country to embrace the EEQ certification.

"At BCTC, we want to do more than just provide a better education. We want our students to enjoy a better life," said BCTC President Dr. Koffi Akakpo. "Providing education and training that address career and employability skills ensure student success."

As more jobs in America require a postsecondary education, the need for employability qualities expands to the entire country. These three programs are the first to be recognized for combating the tremendous gap between the content knowledge that students have and the skills that enable them to be successful in the workplace. These programs are also part of the employability initiative to prepare graduates for workplace success launched by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary education in partnership with The QA Commons in November 2018. To advance the cognitive and social development of learners as individuals, professionals and social citizens, The QA Commons is in the process of certifying more programs for EEQ.

About The QA Commons

The QA Commons is narrowing the gap between higher education and employment in the United States. Through an innovative program certification, The QA Commons provides a roadmap for creating employment-ready graduates. Certification is just one way The QA Commons partners with collegiate programs and institutions on employability. By focusing on career readiness, The QA Commons ensures graduates are prepared for the responsibilities they will be expected to face in the workforce. For more information, visit