Advancing the Framework

Advancing the Framework

Advancing CTE is committed to an inclusive, transparent, and responsive process to modernize the National Career Clusters® Framework.


In December 2022, Advance CTE announced the relaunch of an initiative to modernize the National Career Clusters Framework. This work is led by two national partners Indigo Education Company and WestEd and supported by a National Advisory Committee, Industry Advisory Groups and other avenues to receive input from thousands of professionals connected involved in delivering and experiencing Career Technical Education (CTE) and the Framework.  

Our Vision for a Modernized Framework

Through the Advancing the Framework initiative, we strive for a modernized Framework that will provide: 

Learners with more personalized paths to living wage jobs and gain skills for a variety of careers. 

CTE educators with the ability to align, design, and deliver programs that better reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the clusters and work, include stronger career exploration and advising models, and enhance the connection between in- and out of-classroom experiences such as work-based learning. 

Industries can hire learners with a lifelong learning worldview whose interests, skills, and work-based experiences align with industry sector organization and their hiring needs. This Framework also strives to be a step forward in achieving more connected career readiness language that acts as a bridge between industry and education. 

State CTE leaders can design programs and experiences that are more responsive to industry needs and provide resources/guidance to local leaders that reflect the needs of the modern workplace. 

Latest News 

This year, we have continued to analyze and consider feedback from our stakeholder conversations.  We have shared the top results of the 2023 National Implementation Survey, which received over 1900 responses. We have also continued to receive feedback on industry needs from our Industry Advisory Groups. Currently, the modernized Framework is being drafted and will be released for public feedback in Summer 2024. 

Sign up to receive emails about about the modernization process 

and an invitation to the public validation survey this summer! 

Career Clusters logo in top left corner. Advance CTE logo top right corner. Snake-like timeline design in orange, blue, and green sections listing key events in modernizing the National Career Clusters Framework.

Get Your Questions Answered about a Modernized Framework 

Why is a modernized Framework important, and what do we want it to look like? What input and progress have been made so far?

Share our informational resources to ensure everyone is informed and involved in the modernization effort. 

Smiling person of color in suit and his colleagues sitting by table and listening to speaker at seminar

An Inclusive Input Process 

The modernization initiative is working to build an industry-informed, learner-centered, and responsive Framework. This requires input from all partners of the Framework.

Our national structures, surveys, and sector-specific feedback sessions have given us information that is guiding the development of the Framework. Input structures include: 

  • Advance CTE’s Board of Directors and a National Advisory Committee that comprises 23 members representing national, state, and local CTE leaders.
  • Thirteen distinct Industry Advisory Groups (IAGs) totaling over 200 members each selected through an open nomination process.
  • Input from nearly 2,100 CTE stakeholders who responded late last year to the National Implementation Survey.
  • Focus groups and listening sessions conducted in late 2023 that gathered further input from educators, counseling professionals, and representatives of the educational technology community across over 50 organizations.

Purpose Statement for a Revised Framework

In 2020, the Advance CTE Board of Directors unanimously approved a revised purpose statement for The National Career Clusters Framework: 

The National Career Clusters Framework provides structural alignment and a common language to bridge education and work, empowering each learner to explore, decide and prepare for dynamic and evolving careers.

October 27, 2023 

The National Career Clusters® Framework is undergoing a modernization effort led by Advance CTE, WestEd and Indigo Education Company to ensure it remains responsive and relevant to both the world of work and learner needs for decades to come. Your voice is needed and valued to ensure all input is received and considered prior to a new Framework design in Fall 2024.

To better understand how you are leveraging the National Career Clusters Framework in your work and what tools and resources you would find valuable, we have opened a National Implementation Survey, open now.

The National Career Clusters® Framework National Implementation Survey is open to all practitioners of the Framework of all experience levels across secondary and postsecondary systems, which includes you! The survey takes 10 minutes and includes questions on how you use the Framework now, how you desire to do so in the future, and what tools would be useful in implementing a modernized Framework.

Please take the time to respond as this is the best opportunity to share input about the implementation and use of the Framework. We will share topline findings from this survey in early 2024. Future opportunities to provide input on the structure and content of the future Framework will occur in Spring 2024.

Watch the intro video below to learn more about the survey, and respond by December 1, 2023:

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at

September 27, 2023

Advance CTE and the national project team, supported by contractors Indigo Education and WestEd’s Center on Economic Mobility and the National Advisory Committee, have been hard at work developing and facilitating Industry Advisory Groups to hear directly from industry representatives about the power of a modernized National Career Clusters Framework. Now, we want to hear from you!

In service of a commitment to a wide range of stakeholder input activities from across the CTE spectrum, Advance CTE will be opening a national implementation survey to better understand how educators, administrators and other practitioners across learner levels currently and would like to leverage the Framework in their work. In late October, Advance CTE will share the survey widely through this channel and on; the survey will be open to all who would like to participate.

Please note this survey is only about the use of the Framework and its implementation, and will not provide additional information about future content changes to the Framework itself. Additional activities for the validation of a modernized Framework are planned for early 2024.

We have also provided more information about the creation and recruitment of the Industry Advisory Groups. Please visit that section below to see a crosswalk of the Industry Advisory Groups, how they connect to the existing Career Clusters, and what industry sub-sectors were considered in the recruitment process.

If you have any questions about this initiative, please email

For additional information on the IAGs, please see the “Industry Advisory Groups” section at the bottom of this page.

August 21, 2023

In May, the national project team, with the support of the National Career Clusters Framework (the Framework) National Advisory Committee, launched nominations for Industry Advisory Groups (IAGs) to serve as sector-specific representatives who will inform changes to the Framework. Today, we are excited to announce the selected participants for these IAGs. The IAGs will participate in multiple workshops throughout the next six months.

Industry Advisory Group Member Listing 

We greatly appreciate all those who nominated or agreed to participate to advance the commitment of this initiative to be informed by industry. Because of your engagement, we received over 350 nominations from 37 states and the District of Columbia. 

The organization of the IAGs does not represent the future organization of the Framework. Participants were chosen from those nominated to represent a cross-section of the sector and a range of other characteristics, including company profile, geography, and racial/ethnic and gender diversity. Please visit our website for more information about the IAGs, how and why participants were selected, and other information about this initiative.

We are committed to actively engaging all CTE stakeholders in the creation of a modernized Framework, including through a national survey, focus groups, member input sessions and other efforts. In the fall, the national project team will share more details about future engagement opportunities, including the national survey. Please email if you have any questions about this initiative.

For additional information on the IAGs, please see the “Industry Advisory Groups” section at the bottom of this page.

For previous updates, please visit the Archived Updates section at the bottom of this page.

May 10, 2023

Nominations Open for National Career Clusters Framework Industry Advisory Groups

When Advance CTE began the initiative to modernize the National Career Clusters Framework® (the Framework), the Advance CTE Boards of Directors approved the following purpose statement as a north star to guide changes to the Framework: “The National Career Clusters Framework provides structural alignment and a common language to bridge education and work, empowering each learner to explore, decide and prepare for dynamic and evolving careers.”

To better stand up the Framework as a responsive bridge between education and work, the national project team is organizing 15 Industry Advisory Groups (IAGs) to serve as sector-specific representatives. The IAGs will consist of approximately 20-30 industry stakeholders representing a diverse range of characteristics including company profile, geography, and racial diversity. The IAGs will meet virtually three times over the next year to help inform and validate potential changes to the Framework, provide key insights into additional stakeholder engagement and champion the future direction of the Framework. We anticipate the overall time commitment to not exceed a cumulative 10 hours.

To nominate yourself or someone you feel would be a good fit for these groups, please visit this nomination form. This form is open to the public and shareable; you may make as many nominations in as many fields as you would like. The form will close on Friday, June 16. Chosen nominees will be notified later in June, and not every nominee will be selected.

April 19, 2023

We are pleased to announce that in March, Advance CTE selected a joint proposal between Indigo Education and WestEd as core partners in the initiative to modernize the National Career Clusters FrameworkⓇ. Project teams from these organizations bring decades of work in the career development and career pathways spaces. These organizations will be responsible for providing recommendations to modernize the Framework through comprehensive industry sector profiles and stakeholder engagement, including the selection and facilitation of Industry Advisory Groups to support individual Career Clusters.

Indigo Education and WestEd were selected through a rigorous Request for Proposals (RFP) process, which opened in January and yielded a number of strong proposals. 

Indigo Education, a woman-owned, small business certified 501(c)3, specializes in developing college and career readiness methods and practice using a student-centered design. Recently, Indigo Education conducted a comprehensive statewide process to aggregate and track labor market information as it relates to education in Colorado. 

“Indigo is honored and thrilled to partner with WestEd and Advance CTE to support the career clusters framework modernization. As the world of work rapidly evolves, we’re excited to be part of cutting-edge, inclusive, and tech-enabled education,” shared founder and Chief Executive Officer Sheri Smith. “By incorporating industry input and the latest labor market data, this project will ensure alignment with in-demand and high-paying jobs, paving the way for the future success of our communities and country.”

WestEd is a recognized national leader focused on improving the strength and effectiveness of K12, early childhood, higher education, and workforce systems to improve outcomes, equity, and economic mobility for underserved communities. WestEd’s new Center for Economic Mobility strengthens linkages between K–12, adult education, postsecondary, workforce development, and employers to foster access to postsecondary education, job training, and credentials that result in high-quality career pathways that support resilient communities.

“WestEd’s Center for Economic Mobility is pleased for the opportunity to partner with Advance CTE and Indigo Education on such a meaningful endeavor. The complexities of 21st-century economies require a deeper investigation into the synergies among education, skills development, and labor market demand in order to advance equity in economic opportunity,” states Principle Investigator Dr. Alexandria M. Wright. We look forward to this innovative project inclusive of robust industry engagement and intensive analysis of federal occupational and industry data that will derive a career cluster framework for the future.”

Soon, in collaboration with Indigo and WestEd, Advance CTE will open a public nomination form for participation in sector-specific Industry Advisory Groups. Your input will be vital to ensure the right voices and perspectives for each sector are included in this process. This form will remain open for at least one month.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email

March 10, 2023

In December 2022, Advance CTE announced the relaunch of an initiative to modernize the National Career Clusters Framework® (the Framework). Please see below for the full announcements. Feedback from previous iterations of this work revealed the value of a National Advisory Committee (NAC) to provide expert insight into the decision making and change management processes for the national project team. While the NAC is not responsible for the eventual recommendations to update the Framework, they will provide strategic thought partnership about this initiative and help guide the direction of the project team’s work. 

Diverse representation of perspectives was vital to the composition of the NAC, including through gender, race, geographic area, learner level and area of expertise. The NAC’s composition was informed through direct consultation with the Advance CTE Boards of Directors. Participants have significant experience with the Framework and career pathways systems, can speak to national, state, or local CTE systems, have a strong equity lens including a willingness to advocate for the specific and targeted inclusion of special populations and do not represent a specific industry sector or Career Cluster. Represented roles include current and former State CTE Directors, national experts in career pathways and workforce development, local administrators, and representation from the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations, among others. To see the full roster of the National Advisory Committee, please click the dropdown at the bottom of this page.

More information about the progress of this work, including the selection of a national contractor to support this project and opportunities for additional involvement, will be shared this spring. If you have any questions, please contact

January 12, 2023

Advance CTE is issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a firm/contractor to support the development and dissemination of a refreshed National Career Clusters Framework. Please click the drop-down at the bottom of this page for more information and to access the RFP.

December 15, 2022

Advance CTE is excited to announce the relaunch of Advancing the Framework: A State-Led Initiative to Modernize the National Career Clusters® Framework. Since 2002, the National Career Clusters Framework (the Framework) has served as an organizational tool for career pathways, oriented around industry groupings.

Over the past two years, over 10,000 pieces of individual feedback were received from the field about the value of the Framework, Cluster names and groupings, and where the Framework falls short. This feedback will be considred and leveraged as we modernize the Framework to be more reflective of the current and future world of work.

To stay connected to this work, please sign up to receive emails with project updates and opportunities to provide additional feedback.