Career/Technical Education: Unique Features of Note

Career/Technical Education: Unique Features of Note

While researching this database, a number of noteworthy areas of state activity were identified that did not fit into any of the existing data points. Each such area of activity was not common enough across the states to warrant creation of additional data points, but was unique enough or impactful enough to merit notation. These items are included in this section of the database.  Twenty-four states have one or more CTE policies or programs that represent a unique approach worthy of consideration by other states.

Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and will be updated as new policies are enacted.

Last updated: June 2008

Research conducted by Melodye Bush. Please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth for questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or

Unique features of note
Alabama The Alabama Department of Education is the only state-level educational agency in the nation to receive certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for its business/industry certification (BIC) process, used to certify career and technical education programs for industry compliance.
California Although state does not have a technical diploma or endorsement, any student who has successfully completed a career preparatory program must receive a certificate of completion that supplements a high school diploma.

State board of education approved new voluntary curriculum frameworks for middle and high school in January 2007. The career technical education frameworks show school districts and teachers how to link academic standards with career preparation. The frameworks are based around fifteen growing industries. 

2007 legislation (A.B. 428, Chapter 527) requires each school district serving students in grades 9-12 to provide parents, prior to class registration, written information on career technical education offerings, as defined by the state department of education. Resulting comprehensive state career technical education plan was approved by the state board of education in March 2008.

One effort in the state to improve career and technical education has been to create and support California Partnership Academies. The academies are three-year programs (grades 10-12) structured as a school-within-a-school, with a career theme. Academies incorporate integrated academic and career technical education business partnerships, mentoring and internships through a team-based approach.  The academies' components include rigorous academics with a career focus, a team of teachers where teachers are accountable to each other and active business involvement. The 290 Partnership Academies in the state have better outcomes in every dimension with the largest outcomes for African-American males. 
District of Columbia

Florida Ready to Work credential, a career readiness certificate, certifies that a Florida student/jobseeker has the fundamental job skills necessary to succeed on the job.  The program is administered by the department of education in partnership with the Florida agency for workforce innovation.  The assessment which is used is the WorkKeys Assessments.

Legislation requires each district school board to develop, in collaboration with local workforce boards and postsecondary institutions approved to operate in the state, a strategic 5-year plan to address and meet local and regional workforce demands. If involvement of the local workforce board in the strategic plan development is not feasible, the local school board, with the approval of the agency for workforce innovation, is to collaborate with the most appropriate local business leadership board. Two or more school districts may collaborate in the development of the strategic plan and offer a career and professional academy as a joint venture. Plans must describe in detail provisions for efficient transportation of students, maximum use of shared resources, and access to courses through the Florida Virtual School when appropriate. Plans are to be developed by no later than June 30, 2008 and include provisions to have in place at least one operational career and professional academy no later than the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. In addition, the plan must be based on:

  • Research conducted, using labor projections, to determine the local and regional workforce needs for the next five years
  • Strategies to develop and implement career academies based on the careers determined to be in high demand
  • Maximum use of private-sector facilities and personnel
  • Strategies to ensure instruction is conducted by industry-certified faculty and strategies for maintaining current industry certification as well as recruiting/retaining faculty meeting those standards
  • Alignment to requirements for middle school career exploration and high school redesign
  • Provisions ensuring courses offered are academically rigorous, meet or exceed state-adopted subject area standards, result in attainment of industry certification and result in postsecondary credit
  • Use of eighth grade student achievement data in producing student eligibility criteria which includes opportunities for students who have been unsuccessful in traditional classrooms
  • Strategies to provide sufficient space within academies to meet workforce needs and provide access to all interested and qualified students
  • Strategies to engage juvenile justice students
  • Opportunities for students to earn dual enrollment credit for higher-level career and technical courses
  • Promotion of the state’s Gold Seal Bright Futures Scholarship program
  • Strategies to ensure the review of individualized student plans to include courses that may qualify as substitute courses for graduation requirements and those that might be counted as elective courses
  • Strategies to provide professional development for secondary guidance counselors on the benefits of career and professional academies.

Florida has established Charter Technical Career Centers to promote advances and innovations in workforce preparation and economic development.

Hawaii 2007 legislation directs the department of education to establish and administer a career and technical education program. The department's program may include:
  • Pathway programs of study, including but not limited to natural resources, graphic design, computer networking, and management information systems
  • Academies for various focuses of study, including the performing arts, travel, science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • An agriculture education program
  • Specialized programs, including project EAST (environmental and spatial technology) and
  • Other school activities including robotics.

The department's program may be offered jointly by or in partnership between the department, the University of Hawaii, including its community colleges or other public or private entities.

Illinois To qualify as a related vocational or technical course, the course must contain at least 50% of the content of the required course or graduation requirement for which it is substituted.

2007 Legislation, H.B. 1922, requires the state board of education to develop a secondary-level agricultural science teacher training continuum and to provide incentive funding grants to the agriculture science teacher education programs at four state universities. The legislation stipulates that public community colleges providing an articulated agriculture science teacher education course of study are also eligible for funding.  The legislation also states that program funds may be used for:
  • Teacher education candidate recruitment and retention incentives
  • Having master teachers and practitioners assist with the preparation, coordination, and supervision of student teachers
  • Establishing and delivering professional development experiences for new teachers during their first five years of teaching
  • Professional development for university agriculture education teacher education staff.
Indiana Effective with the class of 2010, students will have to earn a state-recognized certification or certificate of technical achievement in the career-technical program to receive a Core 40 diploma with technical honors.
Kentucky University of Louisville's College of Education and Human Development is studying how to increase academic achievement and success among career and technical students in high school and beyond. The five-year, $20.5 million study brings to Louisville the National Research Center on Career and Technical Education.

State has developed 10 "interdisciplinary courses" that allow students to meet requirements for academic courses by taking classes that carefully merge academic standards with career-oriented content.  Computer aided drafting/geometry and construction geometry, for example, are structured so they cover all 23 state standards for geometry. 
Louisiana To earn a career/technical endorsement, students must complete either an industry-based certification from the list of certifications approved by the state board or 3 college hours in a career/technical area articulating to a postsecondary institution (either by completing the credits or via a waiver).

Since 2003, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has issued the Louisiana Work Ready! Certificate to participants who achieve passing score levels on WorkKeys exams.  The certificate is a credential that signifies to an employer than an individual has certain fundamental employability skills necessary for success in the workplace in three core subject areas:  applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information.
Maryland In his 2008 state of the state message, Governor O'Malley spoke to the need to expand and improve career and technical education programming to provide access to students in every high school in the state.

In reforming the state's teacher certification renewal, all teachers are now required to receive professional development in reading theory and practice.  This requirement affects career and technical education teachers as well and, as such, is developing the skill among career and technical education teachers to better integrate reading comprehension activities into the career and technical education context, thus improving technical literacy of students.
Minnesota A Minnesota-South Dakota Public Vocational Education Reciprocity Agreement has been established to provide greater educational opportunities and services to the citizens of the two states with the specific aims of enhancing accessibility to programs, expanding the range of programs available, and promoting the greater economy of state finances through cooperative planning to avoid duplication of programs. The South Dakota Board of Education and the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board are responsible for the administration of the agreement.
Missouri The Missouri Career Readiness Certificate (MoCRC) utilizes a combination of job analysis, assessment and training to ensure that Missouri workers have real workplace skills and are able to compete in today’s rapidly changing labor market.  The certificate was developed in partnership with ACT.

As a result of legislation passed in the 2006 session, the state department of elementary and secondary education developed the Missouri Career Prep Certificate Program.  The voluntary program provides the opportunity for districts to:
  • Work with employers to identify and validate local standards
  • Create local demand and meet employer expectations in the community
  • Issue a certificate based on the academic and soft skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.
New Hampshire Private and homeschool students may attend high school career and technical education programs.  Private students will have to pay the entire cost of the program.  State is still determining how to cost out the home school students.  There is a reciprocity arrangement with two schools in Vermont that are lacking career and technical education centers in their area.  Two Vermont schools accept New Hampshire students on a tuition basis.
New Jersey
New Mexico 2007 legislation directs the state department of education to establish a readiness assessment system to measure the readiness of every high school student for success in higher education or a career in their eleventh grade.  This becomes effective with the students entering the ninth grade in the 2009-2010 school year.
New York Board of Regents is launching a study on expanding career and technical opportunities.  Goal is to come up with a plan by fall of 2008.

Mayor Bloomberg (New York City), in his state of the city speech, says he would overhaul vocational education in the high schools and community colleges, beginning in September 2009. He announced the creation of a task force to be led by former mayor David Dinkins and Sy Sternberg, chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company. 
North Carolina
North Dakota Most states do not have a state board responsible for the oversight of career and technical education programs.  The oversight is generally performed by the state education agency. North Dakota has a designated board.  The state board for career and technical education consists of members of the state board of public school education, the executive director of job service in the state, and the commissioner of higher education or his designee.  The board's powers and duties include:
  • Administering and legislation relating to career and technical education.
  • Administering the funds provided by the federal government or the state and to contract with any public or private institution or agency in the state and in another state.
  • Formulating plans to promote career and technical education in such subjects as are essential and an integral part of the public education in the state.
  • Making studies and investigations relating to career and technical education.
  • Providing for the preparation of teachers.
  • Promoting and aiding in the establishment of schools, departments or classes and to cooperate with local communities in the maintenance of career and technical schools, departments and classes.
  • Prescribing the qualifications and providing for the certification of teachers, directors and supervisors.
  • Cooperating with governing bodies of school districts and with organizations and communities in the maintenance of classes for the preparation of teachers, directors and supervisors of career and technical education, to maintain classes for such purposes under its own direction and control, and to establish and control the qualifications to be possessed by persons engaged in training of career and technical education teachers.


Ohio Each career-technical education planning district is to provide the opportunity for all eligible nonpublic school students within the geographic boundaries of the public school district to participate in the career-technical education job-training programs without financial assessment, charge, or tuition to such student, except for financial assessment, charge or tuition which is also charged to the public school student. The state has a total of 91 career-technical planning districts.

The state has appointed workforce and academic reform teams to work with struggling high schools.  The teams assist schools in reorganizing around broad career themes with a rigorous academic core.  Career/technical and academic teachers are given opportunities to plan together and align curriculum to essential college- and career-readiness standards.  The objective is to help students make successful transitions from middle school to high school and high school to postsecondary education and employment.
Oklahoma State has a system of technology centers that serve both high school enrolled youths and adults in programs that lead to certificates.  Twenty-nine technology center districts operate 56 campuses with each center having been approved by local voters with a locally elected board and funding derived from local tax levy.  The system dates back to a 1965 state constitutional amendment authorizing the creation of "area vocational-technical schools".   
Oregon Locally-sponsored charter schools can become eligible for federal career and technical education funding support following the same career and technical education program quality criteria.
Rhode Island
South Carolina South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act specifies that, during the 2007-08 school year, each public high school was to implement a career guidance program model or prototype as developed or approved by the state department of education.  At least annually after that, certified school guidance counselors and career specialists, under their supervision, must counsel students during the ninth and tenth grades to further define their career cluster goals and individual graduation plans.  Before the end of the second semester of their tenth grade, students are to have declared an area of academic focus within a cluster of study. Throughout their high school career, students are to be provided guidance activities and career awareness programs that combine counseling on career options and experiential learning with academic planning to assist students in fulfilling their individual graduation plans. In order to maximize the number of clusters offered, a school district is to ensure that each high school within the district offers a variety of clusters. A student may transfer to a high school offering a career cluster not offered by the high school in his attendance zone.
South Dakota A Minnesota-South Dakota Public Vocational Education Reciprocity Agreement has been established to provide greater educational opportunities and services to the citizens of the two states with the specific aims of enhancing accessibility to programs, expanding the range of programs available, and promoting the greater economy of state finances through cooperative planning to avoid duplication of programs.  The South Dakota Board of Education and the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board are responsible for the administration of the agreement.

Schools are to provide students opportunities to complete a senior project and develop student internships in broad career fields.  The intent is to make high school education engaging and relevant to students' goals.
Tennessee 2007 legislation required the state council for career and technical education to conduct a study to determine proper methods for integrating career and technical education courses and to report its findings and recommendations to the chair of the education committees for the house and the senate and the general assembly by February 1, 2008. The report was presented.  No legislative activity has occurred to date.
Virginia 2007 legislation requires local school boards to include in their annual report to the board of education the number of students who have met the requirements for a career and technical concentration or specialization and all requirements for high school graduation or an approved alternative education program.  

Governor Kaine has launched an initiative to develop Governor's Career and Technical Academies to offer more options to acquire the skills necessary for technical careers.  The first six Governor's Academies were named in early 2008 and are: Agricultural Science Academy; Governor's Academy for Innovation, Technology and Engineering; Governor's Career and Technical Academy that will integrate STEM in five focus areas of automotive, digital media, information technology, emergency medical services and engineering; Fostering Innovation and Relevance Through STEM and Trades (FIRST); Pathways Academy with hands-on instruction for middle school students; Stafford Career and Technical Academy with a focus on information technology, math and engineering.

To earn the state board's Career and Technical Education Seal, a student must either maintain a "B" average while completing a specific sequence of courses in a career technical education concentration or pass an exam in a field from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia Career Readiness Program is a governor's initiative and is overseen by the governor's office and the Virginia Community College System.  The certificate is based on the established WorkKeys assessment tests.  To earn the certificate, individuals undergo testing related to reading, applied math, and locating information through the WorkKeys skills assessment system. 

State policy provides that private-school and home-schooled students may participate in district career and technical education programs.
West Virginia Any student who completes an approved career/technical concentration and obtains a passing score on ACT WorkKeys assessments will receive a work readiness credential.
Wyoming In addition to completing the state-set graduation high school graduation requirements, students must demonstrate proficiency in each of the state standards, including career and technical education. Proficiency is determined with completion of the school district's "Body of Evidence" (BOE). Students must meet the proficiency requirement for career and technical education in the BOE.

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