College and career success is critical to our national and state economy and has become a national priority. Career and Technical Education has been central to this call for greater college completion and the credentials that CTE provides to both traditional and nontraditional student populations and has emerged as one of the most important elements in the completion agenda throughout the country. The Illinois Programs of Study (POS) framework uniquely positions the state to achieve the goal of fully articulated curriculum from secondary to postsecondary education. In 2009, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL), in collaboration with the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support (ICSPS), created the Illinois Programs of Study Guide to provide information to stakeholders on the implementation of career clusters, pathways, and Programs of Study. It also serves as a resource in understanding Illinois’ adoption of the National Career Cluster Framework.
Career Clusters are groups of occupations and industries that have in common a set of foundational knowledge and skills. There are 16 nationally recognized clusters, within which are multiple career pathways.
Career Pathways are multi-year programs of academic and technical study that prepare students for a full range of postsecondary options within each of the 16 clusters. Currently, there are 79 nationally recognized pathways, each with specific knowledge and skills.
Programs of Study
Programs of Study are sequences of courses that incorporate a non-duplicative progression of secondary and postsecondary elements which include both academic and career and technical education starting no later than 9th grade with potential to earn credentials, certificates, and/or degrees.
Programs are assigned CIP codes, or classification of instructional programs, which help to 1) categorize instructional offerings consistently statewide; 2) track student enrollments and completions at the program level, and; 3) connect secondary and postsecondary offerings. All CIP codes are linked to a specific Career Cluster and Pathways at the national level. Click here for the Perkins IV Crosswalk of Instructional Programs by Cluster/Pathway.