California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE): Not Just for Deans

CCCAOE President Elect
At Large representative

The California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE) is an umbrella organization representing career technical education (CTE) and economic development professionals. Many educational disciplines have their own professional organization, but CCCAOE is the only voice that speaks for all of career technical education in the California community colleges. The association is recognized by the Chancellor’s Office as the voice of CTE for the community college system and maintains direct contact with many of the responsible vice chancellors in the Chancellor’s Office. CCCAOE has also retained an advocate in Sacramento and is actively working to develop relationships with legislators and to heighten their awareness of the importance of CTE and economic development.

One of the primary missions of CCCAOE is to provide professional development opportunities for CTE and economic development professionals. To that end, two conferences are held each year—one in the south in fall and one in the north in spring… This year’s spring conference will be held in San Francisco and is offered concurrently with the Academic Senate’s Vocational Education Leadership Institute. CTE faculty can attend the Academic Senate Vocational Leadership Institute for a nominal fee of $50. This year faculty members attending the Vocational Education Leadership Institute can also attend any CCCAOE breakout session at no extra cost. The Senate website and the CCCAOE website will have more information soon.

Although CCCAOE was an administrator’s association when it began, the current organization welcomes faculty to join and to step up to positions of leadership within the association. The association also encourages faculty members to serve as faculty representatives to the regional CTE deans’ consortia. The president elect, Sid Burks, joined CCCAOE as a faculty member and has made it his goal to attract more faculty to the association during his term as president. CCCAOE works closely with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges on CTE issues, projects, and conferences. The association is developing a certification program to equip faculty members to move into positions as administrators of CTE or economic development programs. Training sessions will be held at various conferences and may be made available at the regions through the Regional Consortia.

CCCAOE retains the term occupational education in its name, as opposed to career technical education, because the organization’s name was established before the term “California Community Colleges” was trademarked. If CCCAOE sought to change its name to incorporate today’s preferred terminology, trademark restrictions would prevent the use California Community Colleges in its name.

As the funded mission for community colleges becomes narrower and the pressure for degrees, including CTE degrees, becomes greater, CTE needs to have a strong advocate in addition to the Academic Senate. CCCAOE’s singular focus allows it to be a unified voice for CTE programs and an advocate for CTE faculty. We encourage you to explore the CCCAOE website (, and consider attending a conference and becoming a member.