Maine Career & Technical Education FAQ

What is career and technical education (CTE)?
The term “career and technical education” means organized educational activities that offer a sequence of courses that provides individuals with coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions. CTE provides technical skills proficiency, an industry-recognized credential, a certificate or associate degree, and may include prerequisite courses (other than a remedial course). CTE includes competency-based applied learning that contributes to the academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills and occupation-specific skills and knowledge of all aspects of an industry, including entrepreneurship of an individual. 

What is a CTE program?
A CTE program is the instructional program delivered by a CTE center or region in a specific technical area (e.g. automotive technology, culinary arts, health occupations). 


What standards are used for our CTE programs?
Each Maine CTE program has adopted one or more national or state-level standards tied to the needs of business and industry. For more information, see Maine Certified Industry Standards.


What assessments are used for our CTE students?
End of school year 2016 is the target for all Maine CTE programs to have identified and approved the assessments and certifications required for their students. As of July 2014, different assessments and certifications may be used at different CTE schools. Some assessments focus on industry-specific skills, while others may assess general academic or workplace skills. For more information, see Maine Certified Industry Standards.


What is the difference between a CTE center and a CTE region?    
A CTE center is an administrative entity that provides CTE to secondary students and which is governed, operated and administered by a single school administrative unit. A center may include within its administrative structure career and technical education satellite programs operated by school administrative districts with which it is affiliated.

A CTE region is a quasi-municipal corporation established by the Legislature to provide CTE to secondary students that is comprised of all the
school administrative units within the geographical boundaries set forth for each career and technical education region in Chapter 313 section 8451. A region is governed by a cooperative board formed and operating in accordance with Maine law. 


Where can one locate the requirement that all Maine public secondary schools must provide to students the opportunity for CTE?
The language of the law is found in Title 20A, Chapter 207-A, Subchapter 3, Subsection 4725.


What if local schools do not “allow” their students to attend our CTE school?
They would be in violation of Title 20A, Chapter 207-A, Subchapter 3, Subsection 4725, which stipulates that “Each school administrative unit operating a secondary school shall provide career and technical instruction through a career and technical education center or region in accordance with Chapter 313.” 


What are Carl D. Perkins grant funds?   
The Carl D. Perkins grant is the federal funding that supports CTE. Along with Maine’s acceptance of these funds comes a number of federal requirements (such as having programs of study, adhering to rules on time and effort, etc.). CTE schools must complete grant applications each year to access this funding. For more information, see federal laws.  


What are CTE school liaisons? 

Each CTE center or region has a representative on the CTE team in the Maine Department of Education who is assigned to be the “point person” for that school, answering questions of school staff and helping them to address issues they might be facing at any given time. See a listing of CTE school liaisons.


Where do I find certification requirements for CTE teachers? 
Current certification requirements for all Maine teachers can be found on the Maine DOE website under Rule Chapter 115, Part I and Part II. Section 3 addresses “Teachers and Educational Specialists: Career and Technical Education Certificates and Endorsements."


What is an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)?
An IEP is an educational strategy for a specific student agreed upon by the student and his/her school guidance and teachers, sometimes also including the student’s family and a CTE staff member. The IEP often addresses particular needs and challenges of the student, defining the approach, including possible accommodations, to be used to ensure successful instruction. Information on individual students' IEPs should normally be shared before or at the beginning of the school year with the student’s CTE teacher to ensure effective CTE instruction. Periodic meetings on the student’s IEP are normally held with the student and members of the student’s home school and CTE school to gauge educational progress. 


What are Career Clusters? 
Based on the Career Clusters framework developed by the U.S. Department of Education, the Maine Career Clusters Framework is comprised of 10 Career Clusters and related Career Pathways to help students explore different career options and better prepare for college and career. The Career Clusters and related Career Pathways serve as an organizing tool for schools, small learning communities, academies and magnet schools to develop more effective programs of study and curriculum. The 10 Career Clusters in Maine are: 

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Architecture, Construction & Manufacturing
  • Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications
  • Business, Management, & Administration, Finance, Marketing, Sales & Service
  • Education & Public Service
  • Health & Human Services
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Public Safety & Security
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) & Information Technology
  • Transportation 

What is a Program of Study?

A Program of Study is a planned sequence of courses that integrates rigorous academic knowledge with technical skills and knowledge to provide secondary CTE students with a bridge to postsecondary education and career pathways. Programs of Study lead to an industry recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree. Programs of Study are developed in partnership with secondary schools, post-secondary institutions, employers, industry groups and other stakeholders. An intended outcome of a Program of Study is the enhanced collaboration between the various stakeholders. Maine's CTE model organizes Programs of Study within 10 broad Career Clusters designed to provide students with multiple career pathways leading to a variety of potential careers and postsecondary education. A Program of Study may include articulation that extends dual credit or concurrent enrollment, but it is not required. At the secondary level, academic rigor is ensured through connections to the revised Maine Learning Results: Parameters of Essential Instruction (MLRs).


What are Articulation Agreements?

Articulation links single secondary CTE schools and programs to single postsecondary CTE programs at one community college. These agreements allow students to earn dual credits, both secondary and postsecondary credits simultaneously, or escrow credits, which are given to matriculated students following successful completion of a college program’s specified number of credit hours. “Enhanced” articulation is articulation that is system-wide and links single secondary CTE programs to all like Maine Community College System programs. All centers and regions offering a specific program are linked to community colleges offering the same program. All centers and regions participating must sign-off as well as the community college system and by proxy the campuses involved. Students must earn at least three college credit hours in enhanced articulation and also gain advanced standing should they matriculate at any of the community colleges involved. Example: All culinary arts programs at the secondary CTEs with all the Maine Community Colleges offering culinary arts. 


What is meant by a “common calendar” for the CTE center/region and its sending schools?
According to law under Section 2-A of Chapter 209, “School Days, Holidays, Special Observances, each CTE center/region and all the schools is serves are to adhere to a regional school calendar. On this regional school calendar, no more than five instructional days may be dissimilar among the CTE center/region and its sending schools.


What is the purpose of the comprehensive school review?   
Federal legislation under Carl D. Perkins requires the Maine DOE to evaluate CTE programs and schools. Individual CTE centers/regions determine whether this evaluation is to be accomplished through consultation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) or by a team made up of the Maine DOE CTE team as well as Maine CTE teachers and administrators. The Maine DOE CTE school review is conducted at no direct cost to the school. In either case, the comprehensive review follows a self-study completed by the CTE school.


How do we get a new CTE program started?     
A CTE school wishing to initiate a new CTE program should contact the New Program consultant on the Maine CTE team, Nigel Norton, to learn of current requirements such as student interest surveys and local labor studies. A new CTE program may be eligible to receive state funding one year after final approval by the Maine DOE.


What is a CIP code?

CIP stands for Classification of Instructional Programs. These codes were created and last updated in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to categorize different educational fields. CIP codes are used to identify the overall content covered under different CTE programs.  


What is the purpose of a Career & Technical Student Organization (CTSO)?

The purpose of a CTSO is to extend the technical instruction gained by CTE students in their centers/regions to practical application outside of the classroom and to the development of leadership abilities and skills valued by industry. 


What are Program Advisory and Center Advisory Committees?

A “Program Advisory Committee” (PAC) is a group that meets at least once a year to review the status of a CTE program, verifying that its curriculum, instruction, assessment and equipment are all up-to-date and representative of industry practices and needs. Members of each PAC may include the program teacher, past students, industry representatives, community members and other stakeholders. 


A “Center Advisory Committee” (CAC) is responsible for advising the CTE director concerning the provision of career and technical education by the center. The CAC is to meet six times per year. Membership shall include the following: the superintendent of each unit governing or affiliated with the center or the superintendent's designee; a member of the school board for each unit governing or affiliated with the center, chosen by the school board; and if approved by the school board of each unit governing or affiliated with the center, representatives, on either a voting or nonvoting basis, of private secondary schools approved for tuition purposes and served by the center. Minutes from the meetings will be submitted using the Advisory Meeting Report tool on the grant website. 


What is a Technical Update group?

A Technical Update group is the set of CTE instructors engaged in teaching a similar CTE program area. This group is normally chaired by a CTE director and meets in person or by televised conferencing at least once or twice each year. The purpose of these meetings is to help all instructors stay current with the requirements of the industry and to work together to constantly revise and improve the instruction provided to CTE students in the given program area.


What is standards-based education?

Standards-based education is the practice in which students must attain proficiency toward defined outcomes in a given area before progressing to a further level of instruction. This practice contrasts with that of having students advance each year to a higher grade level in school independent of what they have learned. CTE has traditionally practiced a type of standards-based education since students often do not move onto more advanced skills until they demonstrate mastery of the initial required skills which they are taught. 


What is MOA? 
MOA stands for Methods of Administration, which is an administrative review of all federal civil rights, Title VI, Title IX, 504 Regulations and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. This review is normally conducted at least every five years. 


What is an affirmative action officer?
An affirmative action officer is the designated person at each CTE school who is responsible for ensuring the adherence of school administrators, teachers, staff and students to federal laws governing civil rights and providing required instructional accommodation. The affirmative action officer often organizes trainings, talks and meetings intended to foster a positive learning environment characterized by courteous and fair behavior. 


What are the Common Core State Standards?
The Maine Learning Results have been updated to include the Common Core State Standards, is a state-led effort to provide appropriate academic benchmarks for all U.S. students, regardless of where they live. Over 40 states, including Maine, have formally adopted the Common Core academic content standards in English language arts and mathematics. A parallel development of standards for science and engineering is underway through the K-12 Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. 


What is meant by "literacy?" 
Literacy refers to the ability to understand all forms of communication---written, spoken, visual---and to successfully process and utilize the information imparted. Although literacy efforts often center around reading abilities (measured by “lexile scores” rating the relative difficulty of different texts), other areas such as interpretation of numbers, symbols and graphs are just some of the additional topics that may come under literacy.   


What is Math-in-CTE?

Math-in-CTE is a program first provided by the Maine DOE in 2010-11 to CTE teachers and their mathematics teacher partners. The “Math-in-CTE” model was developed by the National Research Center for Career & Technical Education as a professional development strategy intended to better prepare CTE teachers to help their students improve their skills in mathematics. “Math-in-CTE” is one example of integrating CTE and academics. 


What is ACTE? 

ACTE is the Association for Career and Technical Education, a national advocacy group that strives to advance CTE by ensuring its continued funding and helping its teachers/administrators to access resources and training and to keep current on the needs of business and industry.   


What is “Live or Outside Work?"
Live or Outside Work (Chapter 237) is any work situation beyond simple practice (whereas “practice” in construction work, for example, may involve tearing down pieces after construction). Live or Outside Work is intended to enhance the educational offerings of the CTE school/region by allowing students to master competencies. Live or Outside Work is not intended to result in unfair competition with the private sector.  


What is meant by Time and Effort Reports? 
Any employee at a secondary or postsecondary institution whose salary (wage) is funded in whole or in part by Perkins grant (or any other federal funds) must complete a Time and Effort Report as required by OMB Circulars A-21 and A-87. The Time and Effort Reports will assist in providing documentation for grant audits. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in questioned costs and possible audit exceptions. For more information, see Time and Effort Requirements. 


Who do I talk to at Maine DOE when I have questions? 
Anyone on the CTE team can provide you with assistance. Each CTE center/region has a specific CTE school liaison whose responsibilities include fielding questions from staff at their assigned schools.