Section 5 - High Quality CTE Programming

State-recognized Programs of Study 

In Minnesota, a CTE program of study follows the Perkins V federal law defining it as a coordinated, non-duplicative sequence of academic and technical content at the secondary and postsecondary level. It must also: 

  • Incorporate challenging state academic standards 
  • Include both academic and technical knowledge and skills that are aligned with state-approved frameworks, including employability skills 
  • Be aligned with local and regional needs 
  • Progress in specificity (beginning with all aspects of an industry or career cluster) and lead to more occupation-specific instruction 
  • Have multiple entry and exit points that incorporate credentialing 
  • Culminate in the attainment of a recognized postsecondary credential 

The State-Recognized Programs of Study User Guide contains a complete set of tools to support consortia in developing state-recognized programs of study.  

In addition to providing rubrics to enhance program quality, the purpose of the user guide is to: 

  • Define minimum criteria, self-evaluation, and continuous improvement rubrics that align with national and state education efforts encouraging systemic reform in academics/liberal arts and sciences and CTE 
  • Provide leaders with steps to follow to enhance and strengthen CTE programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels within a Perkins consortium, and 
  • Support the Minnesota consortium model as it emphasizes continued leadership and collaboration – multiple secondary high schools and college(s) working with regional business/ industry partners and government agencies.

CTE Program Approval and Review 

CTE programming quality is assessed through the initial approval process and a regular cycle of program review. Methodology is different for postsecondary and secondary programs. 

Program approvals are submitted to MDE on a five-year cycle (Minn. R. 3505.2400) and must be received prior to November 1 in the cycle year. Program approvals received after November 1 will continue to be reviewed by department staff; however, it may not be possible to process those submissions in time for inclusion into the CTE levy. 

Although all districts within a consortium need to submit program information according to the five-year cycle schedule, best practice is to submit any program and/or course updates to MDE on an ongoing basis so that the most current information is maintained. A current list of all approved programs and courses (Career and Technical Education Program Approval Database) as well as a copy of the program approval form can be found on MDE's program approval webpage