OCCUPATIONAL SKILLS TRAINING (OST)

State Guidelines for ​New OST ​Programs in Oregon

Definition

The Occupational Skills Training (OST) Certificate program is an individualized career training opportunity focused on learning on a job site. These trainings offer students the ability to earn college credits while providing them the opportunity to design a career path that accommodates their occupational goals, abilities, skills and interests. The individual career plan must incorporate work site (hands-on) learning and may also include related classroom instruction as necessary to allow the student to pursue a career path toward gainful employment. The OST meets the employment training needs of a community and an individual where there is not enough “need” to create on-going programs.

Most training goals can be met, providing they meet the following criteria: 1) There is a current labor market need for the job being sought, and 2) there is an appropriate training site available in the community. The program is open-entry/open-exit (Students can start at any time in the term) to maximize educational opportunities.

The OST Certificate is intended to serve as a beginning point for students to prepare for a job or to get a better job while opening the door to further education to expand their employment opportunities. Programs are to be developed based upon the assessed needs of individual students and are not to be pre-packaged programs of study. Occupational Skills Training is not intended to pose an adverse impact to other college or career school programs, but to meet community and workforce needs for small numbers of qualified personnel in a wide variety of career and technical areas. Once a college receives approval for an OST Certificate program, the college is not required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for each individual student plan. OST certificates can be part of a career pathway to another CTE program, an AS, AGS, or AAS degree.

All current OST programs (list) have been approved by the State Board of Education and remain in place as they have been approved. With the growing need for more career and technical training, and the lack of large numbers of jobs or individuals to meet the community needs, community colleges without OST programs asked for “better practice” guidelines to guide their development of OST programs. The following are the proposed guidelines. 

Model for OST Design

Criterion

Parameters

Total Credits Allowed

Minimum 36—65

Financial Aid Eligible?

Yes

General Education/

Related Instruction

Required if program includes 45 or more credits.

May be imbedded in work site component.

Supervised Work-site Learning Credits Required

A minimum of 20

Minimum Program Time

2-3 Terms

Principles

Existing community college OST programs across Oregon are based on the following principles, which must be adhered to by any community college seeking approval for an OST program:

  • Courses included in the program must be collegiate-level work. Developmental courses may be included as prerequisites to the program but are not a part of the certificate programs.
  • All components of an individual OST plan must be developed by and under the direct control of the college.
  • Each individual student’s OST program shall demonstrate the content rigor and assessment parameters of other college programs.
  • All of a community college’s state-approved collegiate level credit courses are eligible to be included in the programs for the individual student plan.
  • An OST program will not be used to circumvent local college and state program approval processes.
  • Students entering the program could be full time or part time.
  • Each plan is developed based upon the assessed goals, needs, interests, abilities and aptitudes of each student.
  • Each plan is developed in consultation with the student, faculty, and other interested participants who may be part of the student’s vocational planning team.
  • Each plan must have a means of providing regular, ongoing monitoring and evaluation of student progress in partnership with the student, the work site supervisor and other interested participants who may be part of the student’s vocational plan.
  • Each student is graded in accordance with their college’s grading policy.
  • Each student’s plan should include the following:
    • Occupational Goal
    • Labor Market Review
    • Student Assessment
    • Program of Study describing skills and knowledge needed to enter employment
  • A college is expected to articulate each individual student’s OST plan appropriately with existing certificate of completion and Associate degree programs for “next step” planning and future mobility.