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NORCROSS, Ga. – How do we know if higher education programs prepare students for work? Ashworth College and 26 other programs are working to find out during the 2017-2018 academic year.
The endeavor, named the Essential Employability Qualities Pilot (or EEQ Pilot) is led by The Quality Assurance Commons, a non-profit organization working to create quality assurance approaches to postsecondary education in the United States. As part of the EEQ Pilot, Ashworth College will assist in co-designing ways to assess undergraduate and certificate programs that intentionally:
“We designed the EEQ Pilot to help close the gap between higher education and employers,” said Ralph Wolff, founder and president of The QA Commons. “A growing body of evidence tells us that the so-called ‘soft skills’ are the ones employers want most but struggle to find. We are calling them ‘Essential Employability Qualities’ because they are critical to immediate and long-term success in the world of work.”
According to a 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index report, 98 percent of Chief Academic Officers rate their institutions as very or somewhat effective at preparing students for the world of work. Yet, only 11 percent of business leaders strongly agree that graduating students have the skills and competencies they need.
“The liaisons from the participating programs met for the first time in Sept. 2017. We’ve been analyzing our programs and best practices and looking forward to collaborating again in Jan. 2018,” said Ashworth College director of degree programs Kimberley Winfield. “Our students’ success relies on the education and career preparation our schools provide. Working together to measure how well we are accomplishing that goal will benefit all of us, our students, and employers as a whole. It’s really rewarding to be a part of this impactful project!”
In addition to bringing together diverse programs and institutions, the EEQ Pilot is unique in that it engages an employer and student advisory groups to help ensure that this work is informed by the perspectives and voices of those who have most at stake.
Ashworth College is a nationally-accredited online institution that provides flexible and affordable education to students located around the world. Areas of study include more than 125 career-focused programs in the high-demand fields of healthcare, technology, business, creative services, education, legal studies and trades. Since its founding 30 years ago, more than 300,000 students have graduated from Ashworth College with diplomas, professional certificates, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In a 2016 survey by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, 95 percent of graduates said they were satisfied with their studies and would recommend Ashworth College to a friend. For more information, visit www.ashworthcollege.edu.
Ashworth College is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The EEQ Pilot is a project of The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education (The QA Commons), an independent, nonprofit organization devoted to exploring, developing and leading approaches to quality assurance that serve the needs of learners, employers and society. The QA Commons and the EEQ Pilot are initially funded through National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) under a grant from Lumina Foundation.
Learn more and follow this work at TheQACommons.org.