Twenty years ago, the states and key stakeholders built and launched The National Career Clusters® Framework. Over the past two decades, Advance CTE has been its steward. The Framework has been used by states and educational institutions to describe the universe of Career Technical Education (CTE) and to organize career preparation programs, by counselors and advisors to discuss career exploration and career pathways, by industry leaders to connect education to the workplace, and by researchers and other experts to evaluate and provide continuous improvement.

A full generation later, the world of work continues to change rapidly. While The Framework once reflected the realities of the working world, it is time to modernize The Framework’s structure and design to ensure its relevance for current and future needs of learners at all levels and of the workplace. Thus, we need your help.


Just as we did when creating the original Framework, we believe the modernization of The Framework should be done in a collaborative fashion. By launching this innovation portal, we’re hoping to crowdsource ideas from you--the past, current and future users of The Framework -- and we feel the outcome will be stronger because of your input. We’ll turn top ideas into prototypes to further workshop and refine.

The goal? Fully launch a new Framework in late 2022 that is adaptable to the world of work and empowers learners to explore, decide on, and prepare for dynamic and evolving careers. This new Framework will be designed with equity and access in mind, relevant to both secondary and postsecondary CTE, learner-centered, forward-focused, informed by stakeholders, research and data and embraced by states.


We need your help in two areas:

  1. Submit your bold ideas for innovative ways to structure, organize, or modernize a framework that supports career exploration, preparation, and development. No ideas are too small and all ideas are welcome, though all submissions should integrate equity and access and remain learner-centered and future-focused.
  2. Please share information about Advancing The Framework and the innovation portal with others who might have great ideas to submit! We want to hear from a diverse group of people with a perspective on career exploration and preparation, including educators, school counselors, learners, business and industry, and more.


This undertaking is no small task, and the strength of The Framework has always been its users. By submitting a solution to one or more of our idea challenges, you are becoming a key contributor to a national project, one that will change the shape of CTE for the next twenty years and beyond. Each idea is appreciated and will be fully considered and vetted by the national project team with the top ideas moving forward into the prototyping phase of this project.

How might we bridge education and work to empower each learner to explore, decide upon, and prepare for future careers?

Research and
Purpose Statement Development
Idea Collection
Facilitated Workshops
Prototype And Testing
Prototype Implementation
Spring/Summer 2020
Fall 2020
Ends early May 2021
Ends June 2021
Ends September 2021
By the End of 2022