Developing and Maintaining an Advisory Committee

Types of Committees/Councils

Occupational advisory committees are only one of several types of advisory committee/councils. Under federal legislation (Education Amendments of 1976). Advisory councils are required at the local, state, and national levels.

Local level

The Vocational Education Amendments of 1976 state that -

Each eligible recipient receiving assistance under this act to operate vocational education programs shall establish a local advisory council to provide such agencies with advice on current job needs and on the relevancy of courses being offered by such agency in meeting such needs. Such local advisory councils shall be composed of members of the general public, especially of representatives of business, industry, and labor; and such local advisory committees may be established for program areas, schools, community, or regions, whichever the recipient determines best to meet the needs of that recipient.
Public Law 94-482

Because of this legislation and because of the recognized value of advisory committees/councils secondary and post-secondary institutions have organized several types of local advisory committees/councils, as follows.

Occupational(craft, trade) committees. These committees advise the instructor at the classroom level on instructional matters for a specific occupation, craft, or trade (e.g., agricultural mechanics, child care, or electronics).

A school may elect to establish the occupational advisory committee as a working subcommittee of the larger department (or program) advisory committee. If so, the occupational advisory subcommittee functions at the discretion of the larger committee, under the rules and procedures of the larger committee. (It is recommended that any departmental committee be organized following the general suggestions outlined in this module).

Departmental(program) committees. These committees advise the department chairperson regarding the coordination of the occupational offerings in a large department. They may serve more than one school in a secondary school system. In small school districts, they may serve the same functions as an occupational committee (e.g., agriculture, or distributive education).

Vocational education councils. Required at the secondary level by federal legislation, these councils are formed to advise the vocational director, the school principal, and/or superintendent on matters pertaining to the total vocational education program of the school system.

Ad-hoc committees. These committees are organized to accomplish a specific purpose and are dissolved when the objective has been accomplished. An ad-hoc committee may be sponsored by school or two-year college, or they may be organised by citizens and have no official relationship with the school.

State level

Occupational advisory committees/councils also operate at the state and national level. Two councils (one at each level) are mandated by federal legislation, while other councils may be organized at the discretion of the states or professional education organizations. One or more of the following committees/councils will be found at the state level.

Program committees. These committees usually represent a related cluster of occupation. They advised the state department of education supervisory staff regarding the vocational program on a statewide basis.

State vocational education advisory councils. Federal vocational education legislation mandates that each state have one of these councils. Membership is specified by law to represent various sectors of society, and members are appointed by the governor of the state. This council advises the state board of vocational education and the state director of vocational education on policy matters concerning statewide program.

National level

Committees that may be found operating at the national level including the following.

Program committees. These committees are usually organized by a professional vocational education organizations such as the American Vocational Association. They are concerned with the maintenance and extension of programs on a national basis and advise the profession through the professional organization.

National Advisory Council for Vocational Education.This council is mandated by vocational education legislation. Membership is specified by law to represent specific segments of society, and members are appointed by the President of the United States. The national council advises the President, Congress, and the US Department of Education regarding vocational education on a nationwide basis.