According to SACSCOC, a college’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) “is a document developed by the institution that (1) includes a process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment, (2) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution, (3) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP, (4) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and (5) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.”
Research conducted at the national and local levels points to the following solid conclusion: soft skills education is of paramount importance. The term “soft skills” encompasses a wide variety of aptitudes such as competent communication, teamwork, professionalism, and a strong work ethic. Part of the mission of Shelton State Community College is to provide the community with “learning opportunities to advance academic excellence, cultural enrichment, workforce training, and economic development.” Addressing soft skills that fall outside traditional academic pursuits but are necessary for future career success aligns with that mission.
Shelton State’s mission combined with quantitative and qualitative data at the local and national level provides the foundation for the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan: REALSKILL: Education that Prepares. The specific skills addressed are decision making, personal responsibility in the form of self-motivation and work ethic, and professional communication. The College will create a REALSKILL Institute to address the foci of the QEP. The Institute will be implemented along two primary fronts: Shelton State’s Orientation to College course (ORI 101) and Career Services. ORI 101 and Career Services will facilitate instruction through SkillsUSA Advanced Experiences. Advanced Experiences will provide instruction, pre- and post-tests, authentic project-based experiences, and earned badges to prepare students for the Career-Ready Assessment. Upon satisfactory completion of the Advanced Experiences and Career-Ready Assessment, students will earn the Career Essentials Credential from the nationally recognized, industry-supported SkillsUSA organization.