Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium - California Community Colleges, Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy

Regional Program Recommendation Process

Regional Resources



If you are you a CTE faculty member who has been tasked with developing a new certificate or degree (program) for your college, you will need to seek recommendation of your program from the Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium before you submit it to the State Chancellor’s Office for approval.

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office requires that all requests for new CTE program approvals include an recommendation from Regional Consortium. This recommendation ensures program offerings meet regional labor market needs and do not unnecessarily duplicate programs. The Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium is comprised of the 12 community colleges in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

What is a program?

An educational program is defined in Title 5, section 55000(g), as "an organized sequence of courses leading to a defined objective, a degree, a certificate, a diploma, a license, or transfer to another insitution of higher education."

When does a certificate or degree program require regional recommendation and state approval?
  • If it is in a CTE program area AND …
    • The number of units a student must complete to receive a program certificate or degree is 18 units or more.
    • it will appear on a student’s transcript (from 12 to 17.5 units)
There are two parts to the regional recommendation process:
  1. Announcement of Intent, which occurs at the beginning stage of program development
  2. Before it goes to your Local Curriculum Committee for approval, obtain Formal Regional Recommendation.

Before you begin developing a new CTE program, meet with your college CTE Dean to be sure you have the information you need about regional recommendation and your college’s curriculum approval process. You should also consult your college’s curriculum committee chair (or designee) early in the development process.

  Click here to view the Program and Course Approval Handbook (PCAH)

(This links to the 5th edition, 2013. A new PCAH will be available approximately November 2016.)


The program approval process is outlined in detail in the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Program and Course Approval Handbook (PCAH). The sixth edition of the PCAH states:

Proposals for credit CTE programs must include a recommendation for approval from the appropriate Career Technical Education Regional Consortium. The community colleges in California are organized into ten economic regions, served by seven consortia of CTE faculty and administrators from community colleges in that region. The Career Technical Education Regional Consortia provide leadership for colleges to:

  • Integrate and coordinate economic development and career technical educational programs and services
  • Develop and coordinate staff development
  • Increase the knowledge of programs and services in the region, and to disseminate best practices

In accordance with Chancellor’s Office guidelines and with past practice, the IE/DRC, at its May 21, 2002 meeting, vested the responsibility for recommending new programs, program revisions, and other program matters, with its CTE Deans subcommittee. The process that local colleges should follow in order to obtain the recommendation of the IE/DRC is outlined in this document.

Part 1: Announcement of Intent

An "Announcement of Intent" is necessary for new CTE programs only. Announcement of Intent occurs in the beginning stages of new program development. A “new” program is a certificate or degree that is not currently on a college’s inventory of approved programs. Click here to view a link to CCCCO program inventory. Non-credit CTE programs and apprenticeship programs do not require a regional recommendation. A college may, at their discretion, announce their intent to seek program approval of non-credit CTE or apprenticeship programs. Comments or concerns expressed by member colleges when the Announcement of Intent is reviewed will be recorded in the CTE Deans meeting minutes. Colleges will be expected to demonstrate concerns have addressed any concerns brought up during the announcement phase when the program is submitted for formal recommendation. An Announcement of Intent is in effect for two years. In other words, colleges have up to two years to bring the finalized program back to the regional consortium for formal recommendation. The IE/DRC maintains a list of active “Announcement of Intents” on their website.

Complete the Regional Template for Announcement of Intent
  1. Overview of program being proposed.
  2. Advisory Committee Recommendations. Includes advisory committee membership, minutes and summary of recommendations.
  3. Labor Market Information (LMI) and discussion. Colleges will request LMI data from the region’s Center of Excellence. LMI data is required for Announcement. Colleges may also include other LMI data, if desired. In addition to the LMI data, provide a brief narrative analysis of the need for the program. Below are discussion points for LMI that will be required by the CCCCO in new program approval applications:
    • Net Job Market
    • Earning Potential
    • Program Credibility/Career Potential
    • Emerging Occupations
    • Competitive Fields
    • Career Technical Education Skills
    • Small Businesses or Cottage Industries
  4. Alignment with other regional programs (secondary, community college, transfer).

Part 2: Formal Recommendation of New and/or Substantially* Changed CTE Programs

Formal recommendation occurs at the end stage of new program development. Colleges seeking regional recommendation of new or substantially changed programs must submit a request for recommendation via e-mail (send to, with completed program narrative, not fewer than five business days before a CTE Deans subcommittee meeting. CTE Deans meeting are held monthly between September and May and their meeting dates can be found on the Calendar page. Colleges must have first completed the Announcement of Intent before requesting recommendation.

Required Program Narrative

The items below are all required by the CCCCO when colleges submit their new or substantially changed programs. The CTE Deans will review these items when considering whether or not to endorse a new program.

  • Program Goals and Objectives – must address a valid occupational purpose and may address transfer preparation.
  • Catalog Description – includes program requirements, prerequisite skills or enrollment limitations, student learning outcomes, and information relevant to program goal.
  • Program Requirements – includes course requirements and sequencing that reflect program goals. The GE pattern and the calculations used to reach the degree total must be shown following the program requirements table.
  • Enrollment and Completer Projections – projection of number of students to earn degree annually.
  • Place of Program in Curriculum/Similar Programs – how it fits in college’s existing program inventory.
  • Similar Programs at Other Colleges in Service Area–justification of need for program in the region. (Also submitted in Announcement of Intent)
  • Labor Market Information and Analysis. (Also submitted in Announcement of Intent)
  • Advisory Committee Recommendation. (Also submitted in Announcement of Intent)

Regional Recommendation Process

The following applies to all requests for recommendation of new or substantially changed programs:

  • A vote to endorse a new or substantially changed program will occur at the CTE Deans meeting. Each college present at the meeting will receive one vote. The college’s CTE dean (or their designated representative) will place the vote for their college. A majority “YES” vote will be required for regional recommendation. Typically, the CTE Deans meetings occur monthly (September – May).
  • The outcome of the vote, along with any discussion, will be indicated in the minutes of the CTE Deans subcommittee meeting. Any substantive comments or concerns voiced by the CTE Deans will also be recorded in the minutes for that meeting. The college’s CTE dean is responsible for communicating those comments and/or concerns to their college’s appropriate program personnel.
  • Announcements of Intent will be posted to the website on the first and third Monday of each month and an e-mail will be sent to members of the CTE Deans subcommittee. Colleges will have two weeks to review and comment on the proposed new program. At the end of two weeks, if no concerns have been expressed, the Intent will be automatically placed on the region’s list of active Intents. If concerns are expressed, the Intent will be placed on the next CTE Dean’s meeting agenda for discussion. Intents are active for two years. Colleges must bring the program forward for regional recommendation within two years of announcement. Once a program has been brought forward for recommendation or two years have passed (whichever occurs first), the Intent will be removed from the active list.
  • All CTE Deans meeting agendas and minutes will be posted on the IE/DRC website, along with the documents submitted by colleges requesting recommendation.
  • Colleges seeking regional recommendation of new or substantially changed programs must submit this request in the form of an agenda item, with all appropriate review documents, not fewer than five business days before a CTE Deans subcommittee meeting.
  • Meetings occur in person or via conference call and meeting dates can be found on the website under the “EVENTS” or “CALENDAR/REGISTRATION”.
  • The college requesting recommendation must be present at the CTE Deans meeting in order to discuss the new or substantially changed program. The college faculty member(s) responsible for the development or revision of the program is also encouraged to attend the meeting.
  • The college must have one printed document available for review at face-to-face meetings. It is not necessary to make copies for everyone since this information is made available electronically in advance of the meeting.
*Examples of substantial changes include:
  • The goals and objectives of the program are substantially changed.
  • The TOP code will change to a different TOP code at the discipline-level (e.g.; biological sciences (04) to health (12).
  • Addition/creation of a new program award (degree or certificate) or major/area of emphasis using an active proposal. For example, a college may decide to create an associate degree for transfer (A.A.-T or A.S.-T) in the same four-digit TOP code as an existing degree or certificate offered by the college.
  • The job categories for which program completers qualify are substantially different from the job categories for which completers previously qualified.
  • The baccalaureate major to which students typically transfer is different from the baccalaureate major students typically transferred to in the past.

Examples of non-substantial changes include:
  • Title changes
  • The TOP code will change to a TOP code within the same discipline-level (e.g.; a change within the discipline of biological sciences (04) from the field of Biology, General (0401.00) to Microbiology (0403.00)).
  • degree unit changes
  • Addition to or removal of courses from an existing


  1. Review the Regional Program Recommendation Process for New and Revised Programs (Feb. 2017)
  2. Request Labor Market Information (LMI) from the Center of Excellence - Complete Online Form or Download and Email Form
  3. Complete Regional Template for Announcement of Intent - Download here
  4. Send a request for Announcement or Recommendation to the region, along with required documents.

Other resources:

  1. Chancellor’s Office Course Approval Handbook - Download here.
  2. Reasons that delay Approval of Credit Program Applications - Download here


  Download Regional Program Recommendation Process for New and Revised Programs (Feb. 2017)