Career & Technical Education

Career and Technical Education banner

Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Rhode Island is designed to provide students with the academic and experiential skills they need to be successful in the workforce and in further education.

Career and Technical Education is a component of PrepareRI, an initiative intended to support programs that will prepare all Rhode Island youth with the skills they need for the jobs that pay. Career and Technical Education programs consist of three or more courses which will help students earn an industry credential and prepare them to enter the workforce. Rhode Island’s CTE programs are located in all high schools, postsecondary institutions, adult skills training facilities, or CTE centers across the state and are rigorously equipped to prepare youths and adults for a range of high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers.


Who is CTE designed for? 

Career and Technical education is designed for all students, regardless of if they choose to enter the workforce and/or a post-secondary education program after graduating from high school. With more than 10 career and technical education centers, 54 high schools, charter schools, and post-secondary institutions and adult programs in the network, Rhode Island learners have unprecedented access to a broad array of educational programs to suit all academic and career aspirations.

  • Career Exploration  CTE helps learners discover the wide-range of career options available to them and assess the most effective and efficient educational pathways for optimum value and success.
  • Enhanced educational experience – CTE provides students with an engaging, relevant education that reduces dropout rates and supports student achievement. For many learners, applying technical and academic skills to real-world activities in a hands-on learning experience makes CTE classes more interesting, engaging, and motivating than standard academic classes.
  • Freedom to explore career possibilities – CTE enables students to have the freedom of choice in building their own CTE experience, such as through choice in: schools to attend, career paths to map, work-based learning experiences to pursue, and extracurricular activities to partake in.
  • Networking through partnerships - CTE programs work directly with business and industry in partnership to ensure that the CTE programs are developing people with the skills, credentials, and technical knowledge necessary to move Rhode Island toward the leading edge of innovation and global competitiveness.
  • Reduced college tuition costs – CTE programs have the potential to reduce a student’s college tuition costs, dependent on the completion of college courses for credit and/or the acquisition of an industry-approved credential which providers CTE learners with a competitive advantage for future post-secondary placement.
  • Workforce development – CTE contributes to the development of a skilled, sustainable workforce that is well-prepared for the high-demand, high-skill and high-paying jobs of today and tomorrow.

CTE Program Requirements

CTE Programs are required to:

  • align to a set of Industry-Specific Program Standards established by the CTE Board of Trustees and endorsed by K-12 Council
  • align to RIDE CTE program standards
  • include a series of at least three interrelated courses
  • include at least one work-based learning experience completed by every student in the program that is aligned to the CTE Board of Trustee's WBL Guidance and criteria
  • allow students to earn a pathway endorsement upon successful completion by integrating the school’s proficiency based graduation assessment with the pathway programming.

CTE Board of Trustees - Members & Meetings

The CTE Board of Trustees advises the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Education about creating a system of career and technical education that prepares students to meet the evolving needs of Rhode Island's employers. CTE Board Meetings are public.

CTE Board Industry Advisories & Committees

Rhode Island Perkins V Plan

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) was signed into law on July 31, 2018. This bipartisan measure reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) and continued Congress’ commitment in providing nearly $1.3 billion annually for career and technical education (CTE) programs for our nation’s youth and adults.

Perkins V represents an important opportunity to expand opportunities for every student to explore, choose, and follow career and technical education programs of study and career pathways to earn credentials of value.

In the summer of 2019, RIDE and the CTE Board hosted a series of meetings to engage educators, student advocates, industry, and community partners across the state in order to develop the Rhode Island Perkins V Plan for 2020-2025. Therefore, this State Plan, officially approved on June 26, 2020, reflects feedback from all relevant stakeholders.

Below are the amendments pertaining to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 As Amended By the Strengthening Career and Technical Education For The 21st Century Act: 

View the State Plan:


Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA)

Overview:

One of the most significant changes introduced in Perkins V is the new Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA). All recipients must demonstrate strong local industry, student interest, and community support to be eligible for Perkins funds. The CLNA is the mechanism by which CTE programs will use to demonstrate this demand. 

The purpose of the CLNA is to align planning, spending, and accountability activities under Perkins V to support high-quality CTE programs. Any gap areas identified through the development of the CLNA should directly align to the goals and action steps found within the Perkins funding application. 

All Rhode Island LEAs that have approved CTE programs first completed their CLNAs during the summer of 2020 and then again in 2022. Under Perkins V regulations, LEAs are required to update and submit a CLNA “not less than once every 2 years.” 

2024 CLNA Application Information 

Any Rhode Island LEA wishing to access Perkins funding to support a CTE program, either RIDE-approved or a local pathway, must submit a biennial CLNA. The following materials and resources will be provided for the 2024 CLNA:

  • CLNA Application for returning LEAs (those LEAs that have submitted a CLNA in 2022) 
  • Any LEA wishing to access Perkins funding for the first time (i.e., LEA has not submitted a CLNA previously) must email CTE@ride.ri.gov by Monday, 4/15, stating their intent and RIDE will provide further guidance. 

THE CLNA IS DUE TO RIDE BY 5PM ON 5/15/24. PLEASE DOWLOAD AND SAVE THIS APPLICATION, LABELED AS "LEA NAME_2024CLNA" AND THEN SUBMIT AS A PDF TO CTE@RIDE.RI.GOV.

 

CLNA Resources 

Kickoff Materials: 

Please view and listen to RIDE's live recording of the CLNA Kickoff Session (approximately 20 minutes). 

Alternatively, please view a static version of the same slide deck used for the live recording.

Please note that the live recording version states an incorrect deadline. The CLNA is due on 5/15, not 5/8.


Student Performance:

For the Student Performance section of the CLNA, LEAs must evaluate their students' performance on federal accountability measures by special population groups. To facilitate this requirement, RIDE has developed a data visualization tool unique to each LEA/school. To access this tool, please do the following: 

  • Navigate to portal.ride.ri.gov
  • Once logged in, select "Resource Center"
  • Next, click on "Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA)," the first item in the drop-down menu
    • Please be advised that district data managers must assign access to LEA/school-level users. 

RIDE demonstrated its use and functionality during the live recording. The static slide deck offers screenshots for the same functionality. 


Labor Market Alignment:

To complete the Labor Market Needs section of the CLNA, LEAs must use the following resources to gather relevant Labor Market Information (LMI) about their programs: 


CTE Perkins Monitoring

Starting during the 2023-2024 School Year, RIDE will begin implementing a Perkins monitoring and review process. Perkins legislation requires RIDE to monitor local sub-recipients for compliance with fiscal and management requirements of the Perkins V, as well as any additional federal or state regulations.  

This process is designed to support districts in reaching full compliance with all regulations and guidelines set forth in the Perkins V legislation. This monitoring process will provide an opportunity to assess compliance and operations while identifying challenges facing local sub-recipients.

See all the details here: Rhode Island Perkins Monitoring Guidelines

RIDE-Approved CTE Programs

Click for RIDE-Approved CTE Programs

Effective July 1, 2023; please note that highlighted programs are new for SY23-24


SY24-25 RIDE-Approved CTE Programs: 

These CTE programs will go into effect July 1, 2024; please note that highlighted programs will be new for SY24-25


Substantially Similar CTE Programs

Effective January 15, 2022, (and every year thereafter), the CTE Board of Trustees and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall publish a list of “substantially similar CTE programs” for the upcoming school year. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-45-6.1(d)(3). 

(NEW) Please click here to view the Substantially Similar CTE program list for the 2024-25 school year, the criteria by which these programs were evaluated, and the appeals process for LEAs/schools and students/families. 

Perkins V Funding

In June, Rhode Island releases an annual application for Perkins Funding. This application will include a narrative section, required evidence, and budget. The application’s focus is how the program will use the funds to meet the CTE Board Standards and prepare students for career success. RIDE and the CTE Board are focused on maximizing the return on investment (ROI) of Perkins dollars on student outcomes.


Grant Opportunities

The Rhode Island Perkins V Plan expanded the Perkins Reserve Fund, which RIDE will use for competitive grant programs to advance key priorities. LEAs and/or post-secondary institutions may apply for these funding opportunities when they are available and if they are eligible: 


CTE Differently Abled Students Professional Learning Series (DAS-PLS)

RIDE is excited to release the Differently Abled Equity Grant which will provide generous stipends plus substitute coverage for CTE teachers who teach in RIDE-approved CTE programs to attend a semester-long training series. This cross-discipline training, offered by an external professional learning provider, will support CTE teachers in best practices to accommodate their students with IEPs/504 Plans.

APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS DECEMBER 1, 2023

Application Information--FOR REFERENCE ONLY, AS DEADLINE HAS PASSED

  • Application Guide: Provides context and instructions for submission
    • Please note: Only an LEA administrator may submit an application on behalf of their LEA. 
  • APPLICATION LINK
  • Signature Sheet: To be completed by the LEA and uploaded within the application 

FY25 CTE Teacher Grant 

Leveraging part of the secondary Perkins Reserve Funds to support the certification and the training of CTE teachers, LEAs may apply for the CTE Teacher Grant to pay for the costs associated with providing professional learning for CTE teachers and for reimbursing teachers for the cost of certification to teach in their CTE programs. 

THE FY25 APPLICATION, GUIDE, and RESOURCES WERE RELEASED ON MARCH 15, 2024. THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS APRIL 8, 2024:


Equity, Postsecondary Partnerships, and Career Exploration Grants

Eligible LEAs have been identified to submit an application for the CTE Comprehensive Equity Grant--Supporting MLLs which has combined Equity, Postsecondary Partnerships and Career Exploration grants in order to shore up an existing RIDE-approved CTE program(s) and/or to develop new pathways that expand opportunities for MLLs to explore, choose, and follow a career path to success. Please note: only those LEAs that have been identified by RIDE are eligible to apply for this combined grant funding opportunity. 

Application Information--FOR REFERENCE ONLY, AS DEADLINE HAS PASSED

  • Deadline for this grant was March 31, 2023 at 5pm
  • MLL + Equity Grant Guide
  • MLL + Equity Grant Application: Application window currently closed

TRANSFER OF PERKINS FUNDS BETWEEN LEAS

RIDE is formalizing the process of transferring annual Perkins funding between partner LEAs. If your LEA wishes to transfer your annual Perkins allocation to a partner LEA, please complete and sign the following agreement, and return to RIDE at CTE@ride.ri.gov. This documentation will be uploaded in the Accelegrants application for accurate financial record-keeping.  

This will be an annual process that will kick off every year when Perkins allocations are announced to LEAs. Please let us know if you have any questions, and thank you in advance for timely submission of these materials.  


CTE Funding Model

In addition to federal Perkins dollars, RIDE further supports CTE programs with Rhode Island state CTE Categorical Funding. To encourage growth in Priority Sectors, starting in FY19, CTE Categorical Funds are only generated by, and used for, programs in Priority Sectors. Programs receiving CTE Categorical Funds will report on the use of their funds to RIDE and the CTE Board on a quarterly basis.

Rhode Island Career and Technical (CTE) Industry-Specific Program Standards

New standards have been approved by the CTE Board of Trustees on June 16, 2023 and will be endorsed by the K-12 Council on Elementary and Secondary Education in the fall of 2023.

CTE Industry Program Standards

Governor’s Workforce Board Priority Sectors 

The Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) is the governing body charged with the continuous improvement of the workforce system and oversight of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds and programs. GWB’s Board consists of industry leaders from across the state who are appointed by the Governor to oversee workforce development activities statewide. Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) fall under the auspices of GWB, which is part of the PrepareRI umbrella. GWB also has a seat on the CTE Board to further ensure alignment between the CTE Board and the workforce investment boards. 

Because CTE programs strive to prepare students for success in life and employment in Rhode Island. This means identifying career fields and skills aligned to Rhode Island's industries and economy. In approving programs, and in distributing resources such as state categorical funding, RIDE prioritizes programs that address critical industry sectors in Rhode Island, as identified by the Department of Labor and Training in conjunction with the Rhode Island Department of Commerce and adopted by the Governor's Workforce Board. Currently, the following sectors are identified as Priority Sectors: 

 

  • Environmental and Life Sciences - Bioscience
  • Business Management, Administration, Finance & Management
  • Architecture and Construction
  • Education, Training, and Human Services
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Industrial Design
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing - Defense
  • Marine Trades
  • STEM
  • Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

 

CTE Regulations

The Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education approved and adopted, effective July 1, 2012, the Board of Regents Regulations Governing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Rhode Island, which supersedes all previous rules and regulations pertaining to career and technical education and vocational education.  

CTE Teacher Certification

Prospective CTE educators should visit RIDE’s Certification Website to learn more about the following:

Questions related to CTE certification should be directed to eqac@ride.ri.gov.

PrepareRI

PrepareRI is an initiative to prepare all Rhode Island youth with the skills they need for jobs that pay. It represents a strategic partnership between the Rhode Island government, private industry leaders, the public education system, universities, and non-profits across the state. PrepareRI launched in 2016, after Rhode Island was awarded a New Skills for Youth grant from JPMorgan Chase and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Student Organizations

Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSOs) are extracurricular clubs for students in a CTE pathway to further their knowledge and skills by participating in activities, events, and competitions.

Rhode Island offers the following CTSOs:

Information & Resources

The following resources and organizations offer a national perspective on CTE, including the latest research and best practices around implementation and support. 

About

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, RIDE encouraged all high schools to designate a "Career Coordinator." They are a vital link to business/industry/community resources and opportunities that support and enhance classroom learning and work-based learning in their respective schools. Work-based learning is a critical component of a student’s pathway and encompasses activities that provide students with real-life or simulated work experiences. 

Career Coordinators create opportunities for a school’s faculty, staff and administrators to gain knowledge about Rhode Island’s businesses, industries, community-based organizations, post-secondary institutions and the various career clusters in order to provide meaningful work-based learning experiences for all students. 

They also serve as a liaison for teachers to business, industry, post-secondary institutions and the community by developing and supporting partnerships with interested groups and/or individuals. Career Coordinators are focused on ensuring students' readiness for success during their WBL experiences and on their future career pathways. 

Contact information for SY 23-24 Career Coordinators

Work-based Learning

As a means to strengthen the academic performance of all students, work-based learning provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply and develop their academic, technical, and professional skills. Career Coordinators engage school faculty, staff, administrators, parents and business in a process to understand the importance of integrating work-based learning opportunities into all classes. By accessing and providing information, materials, resources and expertise about work-based learning programs, projects, professional development, and special events Career Coordinators assist their respective school with the integration of work-based learning opportunities and career awareness activities throughout the curriculum.

Work-based projects and activities include

  • Internships: Positions for students or trainees to work in an organization, with or without pay, to gain work experience, satisfy requirements for a credential, and/or gain course credit. 
  • Apprenticeships: Highly formal job training experience that involves studying with a master of the trade on the job. 
  • Service-learning Project: A program or project which combines community service with an outside organization with a structured opportunity for reflection about the service, emphasizing the connections between service experiences and academic learning. 
  • School-based Enterprise: Students produce and sell goods or services in the school and learn about business skills and entrepreneurship. This ma be part of an entrepreneurship course, and a business professional may serve as a mentor and advisor for the enterprise.
  • Industry Project: Individual, group, or class-wide projects in which students address a real-world, industry focused question or problem with the guidance of industry professionals. 

2023-24 Meeting Information: 

Quick Links to Materials and Resources:

CTE Program Approval Process

Annually, RIDE releases a CTE Program Approval process for new state-approved programs. These programs, designed to prepare students for careers after high school, may be be proposed by any public high school in the state and can be accessed by all Rhode Island students regardless of their home districts, in alignment with legislation. Program approval will be for a term of up to five years. Further, approved programs in industries defined as high-skill, high-growth are eligible for state CTE categorical funding.

SY24-25 New Program Approval Process

The most recent program approval window closed on 11/26/23. To learn more about this process, please refer to the following materials that were in effect for this most recent application window:

  • Mandatory LEA Self-AssessmentLEAs had to first self-evaluate their program(s) against RIDE's priorities for new program approval; those programs scoring less than 20 points would likely not receive approval.
  • Program Approval GuideContains the required application questions.

All future new program approval cycles will be announced via the Commissioner's Weekly Field Memo. 

CTE is part of PrepareRI, a statewide initiative to build career pathways for all Rhode Island youth. Learn more about PrepareRI at www.prepare-ri.org.