What is an advisory committee and what can my program gain from having one?

Each advisory committee is made up of individuals with experience and expertise in the occupational field(s) that the program serves who advise educators on the design, development, implementation, evaluation, maintenance, and revision of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs within a career pathway. (For more information on Career Clusters and career pathways in Colorado, link to the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Career and Technical Education website: Career Clusters). An advisory committee is required for every approved career and technical education (CTE) program in Colorado as it is considered to be an invaluable part of the program, and ultimately, the student’s success in a given career path.

In addition to fulfilling a state requirement in Colorado, advisory committees help to:

  • Allow the community to be linked to the educational system via business, industry, and labor
    representatives that add expertise and resources to the CTE program;
  • Identify new and emerging fields and modify existing programs;
  • Promote communication among education, business, and industry regarding employment
    needs of the community;
  • Identify new and emerging fields (both local and global) and modify existing programs;
  • Strengthen programs by providing student competency lists and reviewing curriculum;
  • Ensure that each career pathway academic ladder matches the corresponding industry career
    ladder and promote career pathways within the community;
  • Review student outcomes (completion rates, placement rates, and state licensing examination
    outcomes);
  • Ensure that programs are relevant and up-to-date by assessing the equipment and facilities
    available and make recommendations as needed;
  • Provide work-based learning experiences for learners;
  • Provide training opportunities for educators;
  • Advocate programs to communities and legislators and seek legislative support for career
    pathways if needed;
  • Assist with placement of program completers; and
  • Leverage community resources (equipment, facilities, materials, and broker community
    partnerships).

Why do I need to consider the committee structure?

One of the first questions that needs to be asked when you set up your advisory committee, is what type of functionality and connectivity do I need to have from my committee, and across what levels (middle school to postsecondary) does my program span within my community? The following are several types of structures to consider given the depth and breadth of your program:

Joint Structure

Since the onset of Perkins IV, a trend of joint secondary and postsecondary advisory committees has taken place across the country. Career pathways require secondary and postsecondary educators to work together to develop plans of study with business and industry. In a career pathways system, the curriculum is to be developed together and placed over two or more institutions.

Thus, a joint advisory committee that brings together secondary educators, postsecondary educators, and industry would be advantageous. Likewise, as secondary district expand CTE opportunities, it may be advantageous to combine middle school and secondary advisory committees.

Cross-Representation Structure

Recognizing that Colorado has many geographic obstacles that make collaboration between Secondary and Postsecondary Institutions challenging, an alternative structure when having separate advisory committees is to have representatives on each committee. It is strongly encouraged for secondary programs to include information and data from postsecondary programs. This could be a Postsecondary Plan of Study or feedback fr