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Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Career Development and CTE

When students engage in Career and Technical Education (CTE) they progress through intentional career pathways and academic plans beginning as early as 5th grade, advancing through high school, and into college.  

Adapt the Career Cluster Model to fit your pathways and school culture.

  • color-code your course guides
  • list teacher names inside cluster ‘boxes’
  • empty out the bulleted points/text and fill in your own course titles (add the Concurrent Enrollment options too)
  • put in the college pennants who have majors within these clusters
  • Find more ideas in the PWR Practices section 
  • Access an editable version (use a free account with CANVA)

Career Advisement and Development

Each Colorado learner deserves the opportunity to explore career options and receive guidance in planning for their future careers. Career advisement and development should be a systemic process that starts with a broad understanding of what work is and what is required to be successful in a career. It should narrow as learners move through middle school, secondary, and postsecondary education. A systems approach that brings together advisors, CTE instructors, and community members is most effective and allows for the alignment of activities that can build throughout a learner’s education experience.  Find out more in the PWR Practices section.

Learning that Works Resource Center

The Learning that Works Resource Center is a repository of high-quality CTE and career readiness research and promising policies, and is designed to connect state leaders, policymakers, academics and practitioners with a vetted bank of resources across 12 categories.

CTE Program of Study Templates

Consider using these templates with students to help them build their schedules. 

Middle School CTE and ACE Programming

  • With Career Education in mind, Middle School CTE programs are exploratory in nature, focused on connection to career possibilities and assist students to obtain connection to self, while experiencing an all encompassing ‘wheel’ of career cluster exposure.
  • Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) Career & Technical Education (CTE) is a multi-occupational pathway that facilitates individualized, developmentally appropriate programming necessary to support CTE students successfully. 

Support Your Work-Based Learning Programs with Virtual Skill Development Activities

CareerPrepped is a career success system that supports Work-Based Learning programs.  Virtual activities are centered around student skill development and authentic assessment processes involving CTE educators and industry professionals. Students build, prove and showcase their workplace skills in an interactive environment, while learning how to articulate and evidence their skill claims through a guided process that models the type of self-reflection needed in the real world.  The program is endorsed by ACTE.



"CTE teaches you how to do things and gives you experience making ideas real...No matter what you want to do - whether you want to go to more school or other paths - those are skills that colleges and employers look for." 

- Haley Follman, CTE Construction Technology, Creede High School


CTE Promising Practices 


  • comprehensive programming that delivers work-based learning and career centered curriculum in over 58 program areas in grades 6-12. 
  • State-approved and part of the community college of Colorado system
  • district career pathways hub, located at the Roy J. Wasson Academic Campus; transportation available to/from any D11 middle or high school


  • Gives DPS students early exposure to thousands of career options as they learn more about their own passions and interests.
  • Offers nine career fields to explore
  • Includes a pathway for students with unique needs
  • Aligns with Essential Skills
  • Starts in the classroom and leads to real-life experiences



Poudre High School Pathways Guide:  A Guide for Mapping your PHS Journey

“Whether it's your first year or you last year at Poudre High School, we're excited to be a part of your journey!  Our goal is for you to identify your strengths and passions, and gain the skills necessary to be successful after high school."

"We want your course selection to be meaningful.  That's why this Curriculum Guide starts with a student individual career and academic planning guide.  Ideally, you should decide, "What do I want to be when I grow up?"  Then, select courses that not only meet Poudre School District's graduation requirement, but also help you get closer to achieving your post-secondary goals.  Your counselor will be with you every step of the way, helping to make sure you earn the credits necessary for graduation and take advantage of the amazing opportunities we have at Poudre High School related to your career interests.  We also have many opportunities for you to earn college credit.  For parents, this means less tuition expenses later.  For you, it could mean less student loan debt..."


Soroco High School students each choose one pathway or multiple pathways in order to “demonstrate proficiency for the postsecondary world.”  

  • College Readiness Pathways -  4 year or 2 year options,  including Associate of Arts or Sciences Degrees
  • Career Readiness Pathways in Agricultural Science, Health Care, Business/Entrepreneur, Military, Early Childhood Education, or an apprenticeship in the skilled trades


The Mill National Training Center was created by Peyton and Widefiled School Districts to empower the next generation of industry leaders. There are CTE programs in Automotive and Advanced Cabinet Manufacturing.  At the MILL, “Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab,” students:

  • Are trained in sophisticated machinery
  • Gain skills that transfer to manufacturing industries
  • Receive national certification
  • Build a solid career and future