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A Program of Study is defined as a coordinated, non-duplicative sequence of academic and technical content at the secondary and postsecondary level that incorporates challenging state academic standards, that includes both academic and technical knowledge and skills that are aligned with state-approved frameworks, including employability skills, that is aligned with local and regional needs, progresses in specificity (beginning with all aspects of an industry or career cluster) and leading to more occupation-specific instruction, has multiple entry and exit points that incorporates credentialing, and culminates in the attainment of a recognized postsecondary credential.

State-Recognized Programs of Study

Once a consortium has established a program of study, there are seven minimum criteria that must be met to become a State-recognized Program of Study. They are:

  1. Course standards accurately align to the academic, technical, and employability skills learners must master for entry and success in a given career pathway: Content standards, frameworks and competencies that define what students are expected to know and be able to do to enter and advance in college and/or careers comprise the foundation of a POS.
  2. Program of Study incorporates active involvement from an integrated network of partners: Ongoing relationships among education, business, and diverse community stakeholders bolster POS design, implementation, evaluation and maintenance.
  3. Secondary program(s) meets MDE program approval requirements and incorporate courses that lead to postsecondary credits/credentials: Secondary programs have appropriately-licensed teachers, advisory committees, develop and ensure access to equitable student leadership opportunities, and provide career exploration activities leading to postsecondary credits/credentials.
  4. Postsecondary academic program meets Minnesota State board policy and Higher Learning Commission requirements: A cohesive arrangement of college-level credit courses and experiences, designed to accomplish predetermined objectives, lead to the awarding of a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  5. Materials, Equipment, and Resources: Facilities, equipment, technology and materials used in the program of study reflect current workplace, industry and/or occupational standards and practices for installation, use, maintenance, and safety.
  6. Incorporates authentic work experiences at the secondary and/or postsecondary level that are valued by industry: POS engages students in authentic work-based learning experiences that demonstrate progressive occupational learning aligned to industry workforce needs.
  7. Program of Study development, improvement and advocacy are supported by findings from a comprehensive local needs assessment: Systems and strategies for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating needs assessment data are effective for guiding the improvement of POS, and available in plain language to enhance use by stakeholders for POS advocacy.

These minimum requirements can be found in Part B of the State-recognized Programs of Study User Guide.

The State-recognized Programs of Study User Guide is a comprehensive set of documents to support the implementation of State-recognized Programs of Study. The user guide includes:

  • Secondary and Postsecondary Requirements for Approved CTE Programs
  • Minimum Requirements for State-recognized Programs of Study
  • Consortia Program of Study Self-Evaluation Rubric
  • Secondary Program Continuous Improvement Rubric
  • Definitions

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