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Program Advisory Committee (PAC)

Federal and State Requirements

A Program Advisory Committee is required by Maryland’s Policies and Procedures for the Development and Continuous Improvement of Career and Technology Education Programs of Study and The Maryland Career and Technology Education State Plan for each CTE program that is offered by the LEA and CC.

Role of Program Advisory Committees

The PAC, whose members have knowledge and expertise in the industry served by the program, advises LEA CTE directors, program supervisors, and CC faculty and administrators about program materials and equipment needs, current industry standards, and industry recognized technical certifications for the specific CTE program.  They provide program specific input for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating CTE programs.  They also advise on topics such as curriculum, equipment and student work-based learning opportunities. Their recommendations may include: adding new CTE programs to the high school offerings, expanding existing CTE programs, creating options under existing CC degree programs, or recommending new degree programs to meet current and emerging workforce needs.  Assistance may also be provided with job placement and internships for students.  PACs have representation or have a reporting mechanism to the LAC.

Program Advisory Committees will:

  • Assist in the review and development of proposed new or upgraded CTE programs
  • Provide input on current program development
  • Determine if curriculum is addressing industry needs
  • Assist with program alignment for the development of articulation agreements
  • Assist in the development of program articulation agreements
  • Advise on methods of instruction most appropriate for course content
  • Help to assure non-discrimination and equity in CTE programs in their industry
  • Review and make recommendations for instructional materials and new or updated equipment
  • Inform about technical competencies and certification exams available
  • Serve as guest speakers and mentors for students
  • Involve students in special projects related to the industry
  • Identify internship and employment opportunities

Appointment of the PAC

Members are appointed to the PAC by the LEA CTE Director or the CC Perkins Contact.  A joint secondary/postsecondary PAC may be beneficial for some CTE programs.  In this case, the LEA CTE Director and the CC Perkins contact will jointly decide upon the membership and determine who will send the appointment letters.

Program Advisory Committee membership reflects current and emerging occupations within a career cluster and is reflective of industry representatives who are recognized experts in the career field for which the PAC exists.  The members should be leaders who are interested in progress, improvement, growth and support of CTE within the community.  Target a variety of businesses and industries who are potential employers of CTE program graduates.

Members should include the following:

  • Representatives of local business and industry with varied levels of responsibility in their fields, including all aspects of the industry
  • Members from workforce/business and economic development including the Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB)
  • Representatives from state and/or local government
  • Members from the Chamber of Commerce
  • Representatives from organized labor
  • Residents within the geographical area served by the education institutions
  • Parents of CTE students
  • Former CTE students
  • Representatives of the learning levels to ensure seamless transition of programs

Recommendations are made for PAC representatives based on the identified needs of the CTE POS.  Appointments are confirmed by the LEA or CC administrator through a letter following the representative’s acceptance.  Once appointed, new members will need an orientation meeting, including data and other information about the CTE programs at the LEA and CC.

Responsibilities and Terms of Officers for LACs and PACs

Each LAC and PAC should include three officer positions at a minimum: a chairperson, a vice chairperson, and a secretary. These positions should be held by representatives not affiliated with the education institutions. The education representatives provide staff support and collaborate with LAC and PAC members to establish the meeting agendas and to ensure the goals will be met for the system or the specific program.

Meeting minutes include:

  • A list of members in attendance at the meeting
  • Responses to questions or progress on recommendations made at previous meetings
  • Decisions, recommendations or motions made by the LAC or PAC
  • Assignments to be carried out following the meeting
    • (include what is to be done, who is in charge and the   completion or reporting date)
  • Items to be addressed at the next meeting
    • (both new items and tabled items from the current meeting)

Terms of Service

A rotational, three-year term of service allows for both continuity and change.  One-third of the total membership changes each year.  When forming a new group, the members draw for one-year, two-year or three-year terms, with one-third of the LAC or PAC in each category.  New members are appointed as terms expire.

It is suggested that members be appointed to no more than two successive terms.  New members bring in new ideas and perspectives without disturbing continuity within the LAC or PAC.  The recommended term for the officers is two years.

The term of office commences on July 1 of the year an individual takes office and terminates on June 30 of the year their term ends.  LAC and PAC membership should be reviewed and evaluated annually to ensure that broad-based representation continues to effectively complete the Program of Work.

Evaluate LAC and PAC Effectiveness

LACs and PACs should promote a culture of continuous improvement and focus on outcomes.  Leadership must ensure that the members recognize that continuous improvement depends on regular evaluation.  A Program of Work evaluation should be completed periodically throughout the year to determine:

  • The extent to which the LAC or PAC is accomplishing the Program of Work
  • The extent to which the recommendations and actions have strengthened and improved CTE within the LEA or CC
  • Future direction, functions and activities for the LAC or PAC

The evaluation and tentative direction for next year should be part of the agenda for the LAC’s and PAC’s final meeting of the school/program year.

Meeting Frequency

LACs and PACs are required to meet a minimum of two times per year face to face, but more meetings may be necessary to effectively carry out the needs of a system or program.  Other meetings may be conducted electronically.  A communication plan needs to be in place for all follow-up activities.  Tentative meeting dates for the year may be set by the group during development of the Program of Work.  The dates and times of advisory meetings should be publicized, possibly posted on the LEA/CC CTE website.  Meetings are open to the public.  Each meeting should focus on specific content or issues.  The general planning process involves reviewing minutes of the last meeting and the Program of Work in order to create the current meeting agenda.  The chairperson should solicit input from the council/committee members to plan the agenda and outcomes.

Meetings may be held at various locations.  Holding meetings at a school or college campus enables committee members to gain a better picture of how CTE programs align and operate.  Meeting at business or industry sites gives recognition to committee members and their organizations and brings the instructor to the sites where students may be placed.

Are you interested in sharing your industry input/insight with a PAC?