Our View: Initiative will help college graduates

A new employability initiative launched at the state level will mean more Kentucky college graduates will be able to find and keep jobs.

The Council on Postsecondary Education has partnered with six colleges and universities to launch the initiative, which is designed to make sure students who graduate from higher education programs have essential employability qualities including people skills, problem-solving abilities and professional strengths such as work ethic and technological agility.

Those participating in the initiative 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.

The initiative, which was announced this week, will assess higher education programs to show areas of success and needed improvements to 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 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

—Professional strengths such as communication, work ethic and technological agility.

While a college education can prepare us for our careers, there are many students who graduate lacking soft skills — such as being on time, work ethic, attitude, etc. Some of these skills coincide with employability skills, which is defined as, “the ability to find, create and sustain work and learning across working lives and multiple work settings.”

This initiative will use information from employers about what they are looking for and need in employees, and then apply that information in college classrooms.

As high schools make a push for career-readiness, it is great, too, that colleges, especially community colleges that are graduating students into highly-sought-after and well-paying careers, will shift to that focus as well.

Being a good employee involves much more than simply knowing how to do the job. It means being easy to manage, taking constructive criticism, thinking critically, being on time, working well with others and so much more.

This program will not only benefit the graduates, who will better odds landing their first post-grad jobs and keeping them, but it will benefit Kentucky companies looking for highly-qualified employees. It’s a win-win.

We are especially excited to see Bluegrass Community and Technical College, which has a campus in Winchester-Clark County, will be participating. This will ensure students from Clark and surrounding counties will have the best odds of finding success after college.