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Career and Technical Education

CTE in Rhode Island is helping our state address key challenges — from student achievement to workforce development and from economic vitality to global competitiveness.

CTE programs in CTE centers, high schools, postsecondary institutions and adult skills training facilities are leading change, transforming expectations and making a difference.

Which road will you take? It could make all the difference
  • Improving the educational experience of learners by providing an engaging, relevant education that reduces dropout rates, and supports and improves student achievement. 
  • Contributing 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.
  • Helping learners discover the wide range of career options available to them — and chart the most effective and efficient educational pathways for optimum value and success.
  • Working directly with business and industry in partnership to ensure that 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.

CTE in Rhode Island is designed for individuals who are interested in entering the workforce and/or preparing for careers and who want to take advantage of post-secondary education and/or training opportunities. With more than 10 career and technical education centers, 54 high schools, charter schools, post-secondary institutions and adult programs in the network, Rhode Island learners have unprecedented access to a broad array of educational programs.

In Rhode Island, there are many different options for pursuing Career and Technical Education. Options include a choice of schools, career paths, work-based learning experiences and extracurricular activities, all leading to opportunities for individual advancement and acceleration. For many learners, applying technical and academic skills to real-world activities make CTE classes more interesting, engaging, and motivating than standard academic classes.

CTE not only gives learners a path to success, but it can also help reduce college tuition costs. CTE gives learners a competitive advantage for future postsecondary placement and/or employment opportunities.  Hands-on learning experiences are critical components of all CTE preparation programs.

The application for new programs is not currently live. 


CTE Program Review and Approval Materials

2019-20 School Year CTE Program Approval Process

In an effort to continue to ensure high quality career pathway programming for all RI students, RIDE is releasing a CTE program approval process for the 2019-20 school year. These programs, designed to prepare students for careers after high school, may be proposed by any public high school in the state and can be accessed by all Rhode Island students regardless of their home districts. Further, approved programs in industries defined as high-wage / high-growth are eligible for state Career and Technical Education funding.

At a minimum, a program must:

2019-20 School Year Application Process

The application process will consist of the following three required components:

  1. Completion of an Intent to Apply form by December 21, 2018 which includes commitment to a pre-session (details below).
  2. Application submission during the December 18, 2018 to January 21, 2019 window, consisting of information collection via narrative, documentation, and, as needed, stakeholder interviews.
  3. All applicants will be required to attend one pre-session intended to share information about Career and Technical Education resources and expectations and address content and technical questions related to the application process. If potential applicants choose not to apply, their RSVP will be cancelled. Dates are scheduled for:
    • Friday, January 4, 2019 from 1pm - 3pm @ RI Department of Education, Providence
    • Tuesday, January 8, 2019 from 8am - 10am @ RI Department of Education, Providence
    • Thursday, January 10, 2019 from 11:30am - 1:30pm @ RI Department of Education, Providence
    • Monday, January 14, 2019 from 9am - 11am @ RI Department of Education, Providence
    • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 from 2pm -4pm @ RI Department of Education, Providence

2019-20 School Year Application Materials

The application for the 2019-20 school year is not currently live. More information regarding this process will be posted in December 2018.

2018-19 School Year Application Materials

CTE Regulations and Guidance

CTE Report Cover

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.

Associated guidance materials have been developed to support LEAs and CTE Centers implement, high quality, rigorous technical programs.

CTE Funding Sources

CTE Funding Model

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act

Rhode Island CTE Categorical Fund

Check back frequently for future funding opportunities.

CTE Center and School-based Programs

List of Programs

Group shot of doctors, business people, fire fighters, construction workers, and police officers.

The list by transportation regions includes provisionally approved CTE programs, and other programs offered in CTE centers, secondary high schools and charter schools.  These programs in Rhode Island are primary providers of CTE career preparation programs. LEAs are responsible for ensuring that all age/grade-appropriate students and their parents are provided with CTE program information as a meaningful secondary school educational option. Additionally, LEAs must provide parents and students with information about application processes, enrollment periods and application deadlines. The 2012 CTE Regulations require LEAs to provide for increased student access to statewide RIDE-approved career preparation programs.

Career and Technical Education Transportation Regions

Map of Rhode Island with districts named and outlined

Click here for more program information available in each region.

Career Education Programming

Career education programming can take many forms and accomplish various goals for students. Three types of career programs are shared below. 

AWARENESS: Career awareness activities include education and counseling programs that help students make informed career choices and inform their decisions to enroll in educational and technical courses of study. Career awareness activities provide opportunities for students to explore the world of work, careers, and specific jobs. Career awareness activities may include, but are not limited to, career interest inventories, job searches and job shadowing. Career awareness activities shall follow the guidance provided by the Rhode Island Frameworks for School Counseling.

EXPLORATION: Career exploration activities provide students with both an in-depth, focused investigation of careers and work and the opportunity to experience careers and/or learn basic job skills. Career exploration activities allow students to discover career interests and strengths and to plan the appropriate subjects, courses, disciplines and applied learning skills needed to reach their goals. Career exploration activities can be delivered in a wide array of settings, including but not limited to internships, job-shadow programs, and/or enrollment in one or two introductory career and technical courses.

PREPARATION: Career preparation programs are the most intense level of career and technical educational services available to secondary students. Career preparation programs provide students with rigorous academic and technical training and deep preparation for entry into post-secondary education, training programs, and/or careers. Career preparation programs are distinguished from career awareness and career exploration programs and activities by the depth and rigor of the education and technical training provided, the number of contact hours and/or sequenced, non-duplicative courses that focus on skill development in a single career-based or occupational area, and the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials whenever applicable to the program, and/or post-secondary credits, and/or advanced standing in training programs or jobs.


CTE Teacher Certification


For questions on CTE teacher certification, please contact:

Paul Williams, Career & Technical Education Specialist


Busniess people shaking hands.

Ongoing relationships among secondary and postsecondary education, business, families, special populations and other community stakeholders are central to career preparation programs.

Collaborative partnerships:

  • include formal and/or informal relationships as necessary for supporting quality career and technical education programs; and
  • reflect the community and is representative of key stakeholders.

Partnerships between RIDE, RI Department of Labor & Training, RI Governor’s Workforce Board, Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, businesses and secondary schools strengthen CTE programs by providing students and teachers with insights on the specific skills employers are seeking from today’s workforce. Internship programs and lecture series with local businesses increase student interest in career paths and provide students with valuable experiences they can apply to post-graduation employment.

Student Organizations

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA)

Tom Gauthier, State Advisor
Johnson and Wales – T-401-598-4909

DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. DECA enhances the preparation for college and careers by providing co-curricular programs that integrate into the classroom instruction, applying learning in the context of business, connecting to business and the community, and promoting competition. DECA members leverage their experiences to become academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders aspiring to prepare more than 203,000 high school and college members for college and careers. DECA advisors, in 5,000 classrooms, employ DECA’s guiding principles. These principles explain the methods for implementing DECA in classrooms and the expected outcomes.  The Carl D. Perkins Act uniquely recognizes DECA as an integral strategy for delivering successful career and Technical Education programs in high schools and colleges.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

Marie M. Birch, CFCS, State Advisor
35 Woodbine Street, Cranston, Rhode Island 02910 – T-401-935-4566 – F- 401-785-4696

FCCLA is a national Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) promoting personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader, members develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, community service and career preparation. It is the only in-school student run organization with the family and community as its central focus.

This organization helps students prepare for life after graduation by making them productive community members, employees, businesspersons, and responsible family members. FCCLA teaches students to be strong, independent, and hardworking leaders of tomorrow.  Members have been making a difference in their families, careers, and communities by addressing important personal, work, and societal issues.

The organizations purposes are:

  • To provide opportunities for personal development and preparation for adult life
  • To strengthen the function of the family as a basic unit of society
  • To encourage democracy through cooperative action in the home and community
  • To encourage individual and group involvement in helping achieve global cooperation and harmony
  • To promote greater understanding between youth and adults
  • To provide opportunities for making decisions and for assuming responsibilities
  • To prepare for the multiple roles of men and women in today's society

FCCLA is open to young men and women, in public and private schools through grade12 in RI and across the United States. This student organization has over 225,000 across all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. It provides opportunities for active students to participate at local, state, and national levels through school chapters, state executive board, conferences and over 28 national competitive events. FCCLA is the Ultimate Leadership Experience.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

Dr. Robert Brooks, State Advisor

Approximately 600 FBLA-PBL students participate in business/career-related experiences, state workshops and conferences and competitive events. Students have opportunities to compete to prepare a business plan, develop desktop publishing and accounting skills or select a performance event.  Workshops are held to assist students to understand business, personal finance and leadership, as examples. A State Leadership Conference offers students the opportunity to compete in specific events.

FBLA members are enrolled in a local high school and follow a required course of study.  FBLA is a co-curricular opportunity which enhances students’ academic and technical skill development and is consistent with National Standards for Business Education. PBL students have academic advisers, provided by their colleges/universities, to guide them with course selections and participation in the organization.

FBLA policy states that “student membership is open to all full-time secondary students in business/business-related programs regardless of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.”

Future Farmers of America (FFA)

Stacie Pepperd, State Advisor
455 Switch Road, Wood River Junction, Rhode Island 02894 – T-401-364-6869 – F-401-364-1191

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. To accomplish its mission, FFA:

  • Develops competent and assertive agricultural leadership.
  • Increases awareness of the global and technological importance of agriculture and its contribution to our well-being.
  • Strengthens the confidence of agriculture students in themselves and their work.
  • Promotes the intelligent choice and establishment of an agricultural career.
  • Encourages achievement in supervised agricultural experience programs.
  • Encourages wise management of economic, environmental and human resources of the community.
  • Develops interpersonal skills in teamwork, communications, human relations and social interaction.
  • Builds character and promotes citizenship, volunteerism and patriotism.
  • Promotes cooperation and cooperative attitudes among all people.
  • Promotes healthy lifestyles.
  • Encourages excellence in scholarship

The FFA Organization has chapters in five Rhode Island high schools: Chariho, Exeter-West Greenwich, Narragansett, Ponaganset and Scituate.

RI Hospitality Education Foundation

Heather Singleton, Coordinator
94 Sabra Street, Cranston, RI 02920 – T-401-223-1120

RIHEF works with seven (7) schools in Rhode Island as identified by the chart above. ProStart is a two year food service management program that requires 400 hours of hands on learning experience, and passage of the national examination both in first year and second year of the program in order to earn a nationally recognized certification from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.  If certification is earned, students qualify for collegiate credit and scholarships at various colleges and universities throughout the United States.  The Hospitality & Tourism Management program is also a two year program that focuses on the overall hospitality, lodging, and travel/tourism industry. This program is parallel to the ProStart program in which national certification is earned from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.  The RI Hospitality Education Foundation also has a pool of over 700 local employers that support our education and training efforts throughout the State. 

Junior Achievement of Rhode Island (JA)

Lee Lewis, President
120 Waterman Street, Suite 200, Providence, RI 02906 – T-401-331-3850 – F-401-351-9860

Junior Achievement of Rhode Island serves to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. JA is the world's largest K-12 organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, student centered programs.

As high school students begin to position themselves for their future, there are many unanswered questions about what lies ahead. Junior Achievement's high school programs help students make informed, intelligent decisions about their future, and fosters skills that will be highly useful in the business world. With a range of different programs, JA teaches about concepts relating to entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness. The volunteers bring real-life business experience and guidance into the classroom at a time that represents an essential crossroads for young people. 

SkillsUSA Rhode Island

Joshua Klemp, Director
CCRI, 400 East Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886 – T-401-825-2316 – F-401-825-1117 – C-401-641-4477

SkillsUSA Rhode Island is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA RI helps each student excel.  The RI association of SkillsUSA is part of a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. It was formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). With an annual membership that surpasses 6,000 annually, SkillsUSA RI is the state’s largest career and technical student organization. We provide a nationally recognized employability skills curriculum to our student members and students are able to showcase their skills to business and industry through our SkillsUSA RI Championships. The championships are comprised of more than 50 different competitive events and requires the dedication.

Technology Student Association (TSA)

Matt Moniz, State Co-Advisor
Ricci Middle School - 51 Intervale Ave., North Providence, RI 02911 – 401-233-1170

John Marsula, State, Co-Advisor
Riverside Middle School - 179 Forbes St., Riverside, RI 02915 - 401-433-6230

The national TSA is the only student organization devoted exclusively to the needs of students interested in technology. Open to students enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes over 150,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools. The Technology Student Association of RI has introduced and perfected a diverse variety of different types of career and technical education skills. Students participating in the program compete in an annual TSA State Competition involving a wide array of technical challenges. Participating students learn through these exciting competitive events and leadership opportunities. In addition, the State Competitions have improved not only in the growth of student participants but also in the number and variety of technical challenges.

Adult Skills Programs

People at a desk.

Vocational Training for Adults (VTA) is in place to strengthen the academic and technical skills of adults so that adults completing a career and technical education (CTE) VTA program are able to seek employment in a high skill/wage work environment or advance in an existing career. Types of career clusters in which VTA students are trained to succeed include medical pathways, advanced manufacturing, medical record keeping and advanced construction.

Reports, Research and Information

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.

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