One of the most common characteristics associated with high-quality career and technical education programs is close ties with business & industry leaders, and the community.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) today must align with and fulfill employers’ needs for competent, high-performing employees who enter the workforce with technology expertise and fundamental job-success skills. Because CTE programs must be integral parts of the communities they serve, it is necessary to have close cooperation between the district and local employers. Employers have a strong self-interest in helping secondary education improve and in helping students succeed. One of the most effective ways of providing a link between the community and the district is through advisory councils. Advisory councils are essential to the successful initiation of CTE programs, and they play an important role in guiding, strengthening, and improving existing programs. Business, industry, and community representatives have a wealth of expertise, personnel, and technologies to offer our CTE programs in NEISD.
What is an Advisory Council?
An advisory council is a group of business and industry leaders and community members who advise educators on the design, development, implementation, evaluation, maintenance, and revision of CTE programs. Each advisory council is made up of individuals with experience and expertise in the occupational field and the community that the district serves.
Characteristics of an Advisory Counciil
The program advisory council is established to assist in program improvement. An effective council is one that knows that something positive will occur as a result of its work. The council must decide what it wants to accomplish and then develop a plan to accomplish it. Key to the success of any advisory council is commitment—on the part of the council members as well as participating educational administrators and faculty members. The district can set the tone for this cooperative venture.
Roles of Advisory Councils
The roles of the advisory councils are to advise, assist, support, and advocate the CTE program. Advisory councils also provide specifications for a program and help to ensure the quality of program graduates. An advisory council's role is not to “rubber stamp” what already exists, but to offer suggestions for improvements that will help the program grow and expand.
Advisory councils can provide:
- Validation of content
- Assessment of program quality
- Unique education/training experiences
- Assistance in adapting skill standards for local needs
- A successful advisory council is one that plans and carries out a program of work that aligns the CTE program with employers’ needs. The program of work will most likely include these broad areas:
- Assessment and counsel—the advisory council assesses each area of the program and offers suggestions on ways to improve that area. For example, the council might suggest ways to modify the curriculum, review teaching materials for technical accuracy, provide information on equipment and vendors, and establish safety guidelines.
- Assistance—the advisory council assists the program by helping instructors and administrators secure mentors and internships for students. The council also assists with placement of graduates.
- Promotion and advocacy—the advisory council promotes the CTE program in the community. Promotion and advocacy can take forms such as communicating with legislators, arranging publicity, presenting programs to civic groups, and authoring newspaper articles.