Middle Bucks Institute of Technology utilizes two distinct advisory committees; the Local Advisory Committee (LAC) and the Occupational Advisory Committees. The following provides a brief description, purpose, organization and meeting format for the LAC. A detailed description of the Occupational Advisory Committee follows providing guidelines for the composition, responsibilities and operational procedures.
LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
The purpose of the Local Advisory Council (LAC) is to advise the Executive Council and Administrators of Middle Bucks Institute of Technology on issues related to career and technical programs at the school. All technical schools are required to a have Local Advisory Council. Some schools refer to this group as a General Advisory Committee or Local Advisory Committee. But they all have the same function, and that is to advise the school on matters related to career and technical programs. It is also important to note that the LAC focuses on the overall school programs as opposed to individual program areas. The LAC will advise the school on matters such as changes to program offerings and services, labor market trends, and postsecondary connections.
The LAC shall consist of 15-25 representatives from business, industry, government, education, colleges and universities, community-based organizations, and trade/professional organizations. Members are approved by the Executive Council for one-year terms. The LAC selects a chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary annually.
The LAC meets 4 times per year. The Director and LAC Chairperson develop an agenda 2 weeks prior to meetings. At the meetings, school personnel report essential information and request specific advice regarding matters related to career and technical education. The Chairperson uses the modified Roberts Rules of Order for all meetings. Meetings do not last more than one hour and thirty minutes and a quorum of members must be present to vote on recommendations. All minutes from the meetings will be shared with the Executive Council and Professional Advisory Council.
STATE LAWS AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING
OCCUPATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES
State Board of Education regulations (Chapter 4) require the establishment of advisory committees. The applicable regulations are:
An occupational advisory committee shall be established for each vocational-technical education program or cluster of related programs offered by a school district or AVTS.
The committee shall:
Meet at least once each year
To advise the board, administration and staff on
Other related matters
To verify that the programs meet industry standards and, if appropriate, licensing board criteria
And that they prepare students with occupation related competencies.
OCCUPATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
Although committee members have no legislative or administrative authority, the advisory committee should enhance the education program and become a vital, positive force for career and technical education. The time and energy given by the advisory committee help increase committee members' knowledge about the career and technical program and increase the knowledge of teachers and administrators about the job market, employer needs, and community opportunities.
The Occupational Advisory Committee has several major goals:
Provide recommendations to update, modify, expand, and improve the quality of the occupational program.
Support and strengthen the relationship between business, industry, the community and education;
Make recommendations to strengthen and expand the curriculum and provide assistance in implementing these recommendations;
Articulate long-term goals and objectives of the occupational program to parents, employers and the community.
Assist in identifying needs, determining priorities, reviewing, and evaluating curriculum.
To achieve these goals, members may provide valuable services in areas such as student recruitment and placement, curriculum development, facilities and equipment, staff development, public relations, community needs, legislative and financial support, and career and technical student organizations' (CTSO) support. Suggested activities for each of these areas follow.
Speak at student orientation meetings;
Participate in school and community career fairs;
Help conduct events recognizing students, employers, or others active in the occupation; and. Assist in the development of admissions criteria for the occupational program.
Identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to compete in the job market; Identify student training stations and specific curriculum activities;
Review and modify training plans on a regular basis;
Place students in part-time jobs during the school year or summer months;
Conduct mock interviews with students;
Participate in licensing/certification examinations. Help program graduates secure jobs;
Develop articulation agreements between secondary career and technical and postsecondary education/training institutions; and
Provide work-based learning opportunities to assist in the transition from school to work.
Annually review the occupational program philosophy, mission statement and goals;
Assure curriculum, course content, student competencies, and safety procedures meet current
Review and update student performance standards;
Recommend curriculum modifications or new course offerings as needed;
Participate in evaluations conducted by outside agencies;
Inform teachers of new methods, procedures, products, and technologies in the workplace. Give classroom presentations/demonstrations;
Promote student visits to work sites in the community;
Provide supplies (such as raw materials, finished products, charts or posters) for exhibit or
Assist in shadowing experiences and professional observation days;
Promote qualified program graduates as candidates for higher education. Assess student performance on skill tests (e.g., NOCTI); and
Assess student performance of SCANS skills.
Facilities And Equipment
Identify facility and equipment needs; and
Help to obtain needed equipment and supplies on loan or at special prices.
Offer specialized training programs for teachers
Identify community resource persons to assist career and technical teacher in the classroom
Foster communications among teachers and employers to establish cooperative relationships between education and industry
Help teachers find summer employment related to their teaching assignment; and
Provide internship opportunities, job shadowing, or professional education activities in industry for career and technical teachers.
Foster positive communication between the school and community; Distribute information describing the occupational program;
Communicate with the local boards of education about the impact of the occupational program on the community;
Recommend effective ways to communicate with parents and provide information on the occupational program and related career opportunities;
Develop public service announcements to inform the community about the program;
Post information on bulletin boards, submit news articles to local media, and place brochures in pay envelopes that advertise the program's educational opportunities; and
Publicly commend business, employers, unions or other organizations making significant contributions/donations to the occupational program/students.
Assess student interest and community support for career and technical education. Identify the economic and workforce needs of the community;
Evaluate the program with respect to employer requirements and individual graduates' skill
Conduct surveys to identify present and anticipated employer needs and job availability; and
Represent the business community in the strategic planning process.
Legislative And Financial Involvement
Support the adoption and implementation of state and federal legislation to strengthen career and technical education;
Establish scholarships or other financial assistance for outstanding graduates who wish to continue their education/training; and
Review and recommend budget requests for equipment and supplies.
Career And Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Involvement
Support the efforts of career and technical student organizations. Review criteria for student contests and awards;
Judge contests held by career and technical student organizations. Secure prizes or equipment donations for contests; and
Attend special events for career and technical education.
Occupational Program Evaluation
The occupational advisory committee is the advisory group closest to program operation. It provides advice directly to the instructor, and indirectly to the institution's administrators, governing board and local advisory committee. It assures the relevancy of program offerings.
Program evaluation is one of the most important activities for occupational advisory committee members. Objective evaluations make possible the development of sound committee recommendations for the program being advised. When evaluating, it should be remembered that career and technical education is intended to prepare people for initial employment, retrain for new employment, upgrade skills or enter a related postsecondary training and education program and prepares for life-long learning activities, i.e. certification. It serves as a link between individuals and employment.
Providing advice on curriculum content is vital to the development and maintenance of an effective career and technical education program. This advisory function should focus on curriculum content, not on teaching methodology. What to teach is a legitimate concern of an occupational advisory committee, while how to teach is the responsibility of instructors and administrators.
When the technology in program-related occupations is rapidly changing, evaluation might be performed annually. It is a lengthy process, and enough time must be allowed for this activity in the committee's program of work. Subcommittees may be formed to undertake some of the activities, with the full occupational advisory committee involved in the final review and development of recommendations.
Occupational Advisory Committee Recommendations
Developing recommendations is one of the occupational advisory committee's most important functions. The committee's recommendations, based on members' expertise and committee evaluations, are important because of the unique perspective they bring to the task. Committee members represent business, industry, other employers, labor and the general public. As the "consumers" of career and technical education's "products," they will have considerable influence. Committee participation in this activity can help solidify the link between the school and the community.
Recommendations should be submitted at one meeting and formally approved and adopted at a later meeting, by a majority of the committee members in attendance. Written justification for each recommendation should be provided. When the recommendations are approved, they should be submitted to the local advisory committee or appropriate governing board. The committee should expect and request a written response to their recommendations.
Committee members should remember their role is advisory, not administrative or legislative. It is not realistic to expect all recommendations will be implemented. School and college administrators and other governing board members are aware of the unique contributions committee members can make. Usually, these administrators are prepared to seriously consider the committee's recommendations. If a recommendation is rejected, the committee should be informed of the rationale for the rejection. The committee should also be informed of action taken and results achieved when a recommendation is implemented.
To improve career and technical education programs, cooperation is needed among the advisory committees, governing board, and the administration. The committee should never disclose its ideas or recommendations to the media or the public before discussing them with the appropriate governing board and school administrator.