Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know …” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.
State Name: Maine
State CTE Director: Margaret Harvey, Director of Career Technical Education, Maine Department of Education
About Maine: In Maine, the state Board of Education is the eligible agency that receives and distributes federal Carl D. Perkins dollars. These funds are split evenly between the secondary and postsecondary sectors. At the secondary level, state law requires all students to be able to access CTE programs, which they can do through one of 27 CTE instructional facilities. There are two types of facilities: CTE Centers, which are administered by local education agencies, and CTE Regions, which are governed by a cooperative board representing districts in the region. Since Maine does not have comprehensive high schools, students receive academic instruction through their sending high schools and CTE instruction through CTE Centers or Regions.
Additionally, Maine has a proficiency-based graduation system that enables students to receive a secondary diploma by demonstrating competencies aligned with the Maine Learning Results standards. Earlier this year, the legislature updated the policy to enable CTE classes to satisfy some of the proficiency-based graduation requirements, considerably increasing the opportunity for secondary students to pursue CTE courses. Maine is further working to integrate technical and academic standards through CTE Intersections Workshops, which convene CTE, math and English Language Arts teachers to discuss intersections in their curricula. By 2017, the state aims to have completed intersections for 11 program pathways.
Maine recently revamped their teacher certification requirements to enable more business and industry experts to enter the classroom. They also adopted a regional calendar law to ensure students could attain the industry recognized credentials available in their programs.
Postsecondary Counterpart: Maine secondary and postsecondary CTE institutions maintain a close partnership to enable students to have a smooth transition to postsecondary education. Maine secondary CTE also communicates with the Maine Department of Labor to create pre-apprenticeships and mentorships for Maine students.
Programs of Study (POS): Maine has adopted ten Career Clusters® and 25 related pathways at the state level, and local schools and districts are able to develop their own programs based on these frameworks. Programs must be aligned to national- or state-certified industry standards and undergo an approval process by the state Department of Education, including review by an industry stakeholder group. Each program is reviewed by the Department of Education every six years, with an abbreviated review every three, though local CTE administrators conduct more routine program assessments through required Program Advisory Committees (PAC) and Center Advisory Committees (CAC). These committees review programs regularly to ensure they continue to meet industry standards and local industry needs.
Notable in Maine: The state has made efforts in recent years to support the transition from secondary to postsecondary through statewide articulation agreements and the Bridge Year program. Four statewide articulation agreements — in culinary arts, electrical, machine tool and, soon, auto technology programs — enable students to apply credits earned in high school towards a postsecondary degree at one of Maine’s public colleges and/or universities. Additionally, Maine encourages school districts to enter into their own articulation and dual enrollment agreements with corresponding community colleges, universities, and private postsecondary institutions to ensure students have a seamless pathway.
The Bridge Year program is a cohort-based early college program that starts during the junior year of high school. Bridge Year is designed to prepare students for college and careers through technical instruction, career assessments and advising, job shadowing experiences and dual credit coursework. In 2013, the state legislature passed a law to provide funding for dual enrollment CTE programs such as Bridge Year and enable students to earn high school diplomas and postsecondary credit through such programs. In the 2015-16 academic year, 224 students were enrolled in Bridge Year and were projected to earn 3,360 postsecondary credits.
Moving forward, Maine plans to take advantage of the state’s new proficiency-based graduation requirements to promote the benefits of CTE and encourage and allow more students to enroll.
Austin Estes, Policy Associate