The Wyoming Department of Education is hosting listening sessions as it develops a new plan for the state's career and technical education (CTE) programs.
The department will create new guidelines for CTE programs at the high school and community college levels in line with the Perkins Act. That act provides federal funding for the programs.
Michelle Aldrich, CTE director for the Wyoming Department of Education, said one of the biggest changes to the Perkins Act is that now CTE programs will get funds based on career outcomes.
"In order for the Perkins funding to be used for a particular career pathway, the outcome has to be to a job that is high wage and high demand and high skill. So no longer does it have to meet just one of those criteria, it has to meet all three," she said.
Another change includes expanding career exploration down to fifth grade. Previously, funding had only been available for grades nine through 12 and post-secondary students.
Aldrich said this expansion will help students find out more about possible career paths as they go through school.
"I'm hoping it will translate into more students when they reach community college not changing their major as many times, which will save them and their families time and money," she said.
Aldrich said the listening sessions have two main prompts.
"Really, what we're asking people is: what would you like to see Wyoming career and technical education look like in the next five years? And what do you think the need is career and technical education in Wyoming right now?" she said.
Once the listening sessions are complete after May 6, the department will assemble an advisory council to work on the new plan. Aldrich said she hopes the council will have a working draft by September 1.