Magazine article Techniques

COMMON CAREER TECHINCAL CORE: Common Standards, Common Vision for CTE

Magazine article Techniques

COMMON CAREER TECHINCAL CORE: Common Standards, Common Vision for CTE

Article excerpt

In June 2012, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) completed the development of the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) - a state-led initiative to ensure that career and technical education (CTE) programs are consistent and high quality across the United States. Forty-two states, Washington, DC, and Palau participated in the development of the CCTC, common program-level standards for secondary and postsecondary CTE. The multistep process incorporated input at various stages from approximately 3,500 individuals representing K- 12 education, business and industry, and higher education from across the nation.

We all have heard the stories, seen the statistics and read the books - dramatic changes in the global economy have required our nation to shift its approach to education and workforce training. And we know the United States needs to do more to maintain its competitive edge. This is why CTE has never been more important in addressing the issues that our nation is facing. As a system that has always been responsive to the changing needs of the economy, CTE draws its content and focus from the workplace. This responsiveness has resulted in CTE continuing to innovate and adapt. This latest phase of evolution, the development of common standards for CTE, required that this innovation and adaptation happen in a cohesive and coordinated way to ensure that collectively the United States can compete and succeed in the global economy.

Leading Change

This is not the first time GTE has transformed to keep pace with society and the economy. In the early 1900s, GTE made significant shifts from the agrarian-based economy to the booming industrial age. GTE programs helped to train individuals who boosted our nation into the 20th century. As technology in the workforce advanced, so did GTE. It is the nature of GTE to constantly evolve.

GTE continued to morph as we entered the 21st century. In 2000, NASDGTEc's Board of Directors unanimously agreed to respond to a grant solicitation from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant was designed to support the development of Knowledge and Skills Statements for the federally identified 16 Career Clusters.(TM) The Board's move was the impetus for GTE state directors across the nation to band together and support the development of the career clusters - a common organizing framework for CTE programs nationwide. Further, this decision demonstrated the leadership of states, through the NASDGTEc board, to unite toward a greater national cause.

In essence, that decision by NASDCTEc in 2000 was the first state-led initiative to define common expectations for GTE. To date, all states have adopted the career clusters as an organizing tool for CTE.

However, implementation varies from state to state because the adoption guidelines allowed states to adapt the career clusters to suit their state economic and workforce needs. While the career clusters initiative definitely advanced the image, scope and expectations of GTE, it did not fully address consistency across states and the challenges brought forth by the emerging global economy.

A New Vision

In 2009, NASDCTEc recognized it was time to revisit the conversation about common expectations for GTE. Economic, social and political winds had shifted since the first attempt to establish commonality among CTE programs. In the spring, NASDGTEc began to chart CTE's journey through "Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education," which can be found at

This new vision recognizes GTE as an important national resource to ensure that the United States remains competitive in the global economy. Moreover, the vision sets expectations for CTE and promotes specific policy and programmatic action steps to achieve the vision, including a call for common GTE standards. …

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