The Common Career Technical Core

The Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) is a state-led initiative to establish a set of rigorous, high-quality standards for Career Technical Education (CTE) that states can adopt voluntarily. The initiative is being coordinated by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), which represents the state and territory heads of secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE across the nation. Forty-two states, the District of Columbia and Palau supported the development stage of the CCTC.
The CCTC includes a set of standards for each of the 16 Career Clusters™ and their corresponding Career Pathways that define what students should know and be able to do after completing instruction in a program of study. The CCTC also includes an overarching set of Career Ready Practices that apply to all programs of study.
The Career Ready Practices include 12 statements that address the knowledge, skills and dispositions that are important to becoming career ready. The Career Ready Practices component of the CCTC provides a framework for the developmental experiences necessary to becoming career ready; experiences that can be “practiced” using many different approaches in a variety of settings. A student refines these practices throughout their full continuum of learning: through their journey in school, college, the workforce and when they return to advance their education.
Each Career Ready Practice includes an overarching statement along with a more detailed description. Below are the 12 overarching statements:
  • Act as a responsible and contributing citizen and employee.
  • Apply appropriate academic and technical skills.
  • Attend to personal health and financial well-being.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively and with reason.
  • Consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of decisions.
  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation.
  • Employ valid and reliable research strategies.
  • Utilize critical thinking to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Model integrity, ethical leadership and effective management.
  • Plan education and career paths aligned to personal goals.
  • Use technology to enhance productivity.
  • Work productively in teams while using cultural global competence.
The Career Ready Practices are intended to establish goals for CTE programs, yet the practices are relevant for all students. At the high school level, for example, the Career Ready Practices enhance the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics by more clearly illustrating what it means to be career ready. If a student’s course experience embeds both Career Ready Practices and lessons aligned to Common Core State Standards, they gain a learning experience with the academic rigor and career-context that will prepare them to be college- and career-ready.
How were the Career Ready Practices developed?
The Career Ready Practices were informed by guidance from business and industry; state policy and practice; and other resources such as SCANS, soft skills and employability skills. NASDCTEc partnered with Vivayic, a learning solutions company, to gather research, write the standards, and facilitate the validation process. The Career Ready Practices were reviewed by educators, business and industry, curriculum specialists and others in the spring of 2012. The NASDCTEc Board of Directors adopted the final Career Ready Practices prior to public release in June of 2012.
How will states adopt the Career Ready Practices?
Over the course of the next year, NASDCTEc will launch an initiative to coordinate a comprehensive gap analysis to compare each state’s current course-level standards against the CCTC program-level standards to determine alignment. The gap analysis will be conducted by a team of third-party experts to ensure quality and consistency across the states. Based on the gap analysis, each state will decide whether or not to adopt the CCTC and identify a plan for aligning current state expectations to the CCTC.
States have the option to adopt some or all of the Career Clusters™ that comprise the CCTC. For example, a state may choose to adopt standards for 10 of the 16 Career Clusters™. States must adopt each set of Career Cluster™ standards in its entirety. States choosing to adopt any of the Career Clusters™ must also adopt the Career Ready Practices.
To learn more about the Common Career Technical Core, please visit the Web site at: