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Graduation Guidelines - Industry Certificate

The information for industry certifications was created by the Graduation Guidelines Industry Certificate Work Group.

View the Implementation Guidebook created by the Work Group.

book Industry Certification

An industry certification is a credential recognized by business and industry at the local, state or national level. It could be an assessment, an examination or a license that is administered and recognized by an industry third-party or governing board. Industry certificates measure competency in an occupation, and they validate the knowledge base and skills that show mastery in a particular industry. Districts determine which certifications to authorize for students.

Each school district in Colorado determines which Industry Certificates/Certifications will be accepted for a student’s demonstration of learning according to the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options. Also, each district can decide whether the certificate meets Graduation Guidelines competencies in English, math, or both.

View the Implementation Guidebook created by the Industry Certificates Work Group.

magnifying glass Why This Option

For the Student: Industry certifications allow students to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and/or skills. They can increase job prospects, marketability to employers and employability, as well as options for postsecondary education.

For Districts: Certifications provide additional options for students because districts can tailor graduation requirements to meet the unique needs of students and the local community. This opportunity promotes increased student engagement.

For Employers/Industry: Industry certifications demonstrate evidence of competencies, thus supporting hiring practices and filling employers' specific demand for knowledge, skills and abilities.

For Colorado/Local Community: Industry certifications connect skill sets of the workforce to workforce demand. This intentional connection addresses the skills gap while increasing an individual’s earning potential.

lightbulb Implementation Strategies

Districts have the authority to decide which industry certificates to add the Menu of Options for their Graduation Requirements.  The credential must be industry-recognized. The district also has the authority to decide whether the certificate meets Graduation Guidelines competencies in English or math, or both.

Districts can also consider authorizing industry certifications from the Career Development Incentive Program which “provides financial incentives for school districts and charter schools that encourage high school students, grades 9-12, to complete qualified industry credential programs, internships, residencies, construction pre-apprenticeship or construction apprenticeship programs or qualified Advanced Placement (AP) courses.”

Participating districts or charter schools could receive up to $1,000 for each student who successfully completes one of the qualified programs and will be distributed in tiered order. Please visit the

lightbulb Resources and Promising Practices

Schools and districts have shared their promising practices for Industry Certificates.  Consider adopting or adapting them for your students.

District Policies and Criteria

Promising Practices

Peyton and Widefield School Districts

The Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab - The MILL - is located at the Peyton/Widefield Vocational Education Campus on 4450 Foreign Trade Zone Boulevard across from the Widefield School District’s Transportation Department. “The MiLL is a massive group effort between school districts, professionals, and industry partners” that seeks to “empower the next generation of industry leaders.”


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Videos for parents, school counselors, and students.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

CTE programs - that are in high schools and are connected with Community Colleges - offer a unique opportunity for the implementation of industry certifications into the curriculum. Many programs include a sequence of courses that lead to an industry certification. Also, CTE Advisory Committees associated with CTE programs include business professionals who are interested in students’ success in multiple career pathways.


27J School District

Canon City Schools

Canon City and Fremont School Districts

Jefferson County Schools

The goal of the Jeffco Schools implementation process is “to create a set of criteria and process for approving industry certificate to be used as a demonstration of readiness for graduation.” 

Littleton Public Schools

Students in Littleton are eligible to take classes at Arapahoe Community College.  They receive concurrent enrollment credit, and, if available, prepare for industry certifications and/or state licensing exams.

Northeast Colorado Career Development Partnership (NE BOCES)

Peyton School District – Woods Manufacturing

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CDE Stories of Promising Practices

Poudre High School Pathways

  • Transforming High School through ICAP and Smaller Learning Communities

Pueblo 70

Westminster Schools

Career and Technical Education is a priority area in the district’s strategic plan: Vision 2020.

checklist More Information

For examples of board policies, district plans, rubrics and examples of implementation strategies, visit the Graduation Guidelines main page and PWR Practices, Tools, and Resources.