California Career Technical Education

Arts, Media, and Entertainment Industry Sector

What is AME?

The California Department of Education established the Arts, Media, and Entertainment (AME) industry sector to support high school students interested in pursuing careers in California’s thriving creative workforce. AME programs align with California Career Technical Education (CTE) Model Curriculum Standards which define the knowledge, skills, and practical experience required for students to pursue post-secondary, vocational, and/or apprenticeship training. AME programs build on traditional arts programs to include a comprehensive career readiness component. In 2019, the sector has grown to serve 231,000 students and is the largest CTE sector in the state of California.

What are the AME Pathways?

AME pathways are sequential focus areas that allow students to advance their studies in a particular creative discipline and gain pre-professional career and post-secondary preparatory experience at the high school level. Students must complete 300 hours (or two consecutive years) of standards-aligned intermediate and advanced level coursework in one of the career focus areas to complete a pathway. Workforce Pathways Guiding Policy Principles define high quality CTE and establish essential elements for programs to follow. Components of a successful pathway include a professional or technical core, academic connections, a work-based learning or internship program, student, strong industry advisory, leadership, and student support services, to name a few. 

  • Graphic Design:  Students utilize industry standard digital design tools, processes and systems common to careers in graphic arts and media production. Close examination of topics include: web design, marketing, art and copy preparation, graphic design, publishing, image generation and assembly, graphic reproduction operations, binding and/or finishing related to digital imaging, printing, and digital production. [Calpads codes 7210-7212]
  • Animation : Students refine artistic and technical animation skills to prepare for specific career paths in the animation and visual effects (VFX) industries. Students learn about computer generated imagery (CGI), anatomical accuracy in drawing and design, learn the fundamentals and physics of movement, execute creative story development, and explore visual communication and computer generated imaging through a variety of animated formats and industry standard software. [Calpads codes 7213-7215]
  • Visual and Commercial Art: Students refine skills in digital and traditional 2-D and 3-D mediums such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography common to careers in fine arts, photography, and commercial art.  Students will design, produce and exhibit art as a communication and marketing tool for industry specific purposes, and examine topics such as arts management and arts education, copyright, curation, exhibition, archiving, and monitization.  [Calpads codes 7216-7218]
  • Media Arts: Students focus on the design aspect, artistic qualities and interaction between media sources in live, recorded, print, and web-based productions. Students develop artistic skills and learn to address industry specific challenges through cross-disciplinary media arts applications and industry standard software.  [Calpads codes 7219-7221]

  • Professional Dance and Choreography: Students refine multi-genre technical, performance, and choreographic skills for live and recorded performance to prepare for careers in professional dance.  They design production elements (i.e., staging, lighting, film, projection, costuming, and sound); perform for multiple audiences;  explore careers in commercial, educational, and concert dance; and learn about the business side of dance including licensing, company and studio management, and self marketing. [Calpads codes 7230-7232]
  • Professional Music:  Students build on technical knowledge to prepare for artistic career paths in the music industry. They refine skills in instrumental, vocal, and/or digital music composition, arrangement, performance and production. Topics such as music monetization, contracts, licensing, and navigating the music industry are explored.   [Calpads codes 7233-7235]
  • Professional Theatre: Students prepare for artistic careers on the stage or screen.  They learn to create, perform, and direct for live audiences and the camera. Students will learn and refine writing, acting and directing techniques, and understand the business side of the professional theatre, film, and television industries, including the role of the Actor’s Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. Students will prepare audition or direction portfolios, learn business/managerial skills, and develop a professional website and career plan to prepare for employment, advanced training, or higher education in professional acting and directing. [Calpads codes 7236-7238]
  • Stage Technology: Students execute the design and technical aspects of dance, theatre, and music productions to prepare for careers in technical theatre and theater management.  They are trained in costuming; lighting and projection design, installation, and operation; set design, construction and installation; sound design and production; front and back of house management; stage management; and marketing for live and recorded performance. Students learn about unions and how to gain employment in the industry.  [Calpads codes 7240-7242]
  • Film and Video Production: Students are prepared for employment, advanced training, or higher education in film, television, and video production.. They are trained in pre and post production; camera operation; framing and composition; lighting technique and equipment operation; narrative and story development; visual communication strategies, and commercial video production.  Students use industry standard software for film editing and are responsible for post production marketing, distribution and copyright. Students learn about labor unions, and how to gain employment in the technical theater, film, and television industries. [Calpads codes 7243-7245]
  • Multimedia Production: Students prepare for careers in audiovisual (A/V) and broadcast production for live and recorded events.  Students learn industry standard equipment and software for broadcast engineering, audio design, production and engineering; and A/V production and engineering. Students examine the technological interface of equipment installation and operation; audiovisual manipulation; mixing, recording and editing; switching, and live streaming; and other pre and post production components to prepare for employment, advanced training, or higher education in multimedia production. [Calpads codes 7246-7249]

Game Design: Students prepare for careers in the rapidly developing gaming industry. They explore current industry standard technologies, media and art applications, and emerging technological advances.  Students will refine skills in drawing, narrative development, design, animation, graphic imaging, coding and multimedia production to prepare for employment, advanced training, or higher education in game design. [Calpads codes 7260-7262]

What is the AME Coalition?

Our purpose is….

To support a school to career pipeline for CA students from diverse backgrounds and increase access to industry-connected opportunities for AME programs, especially those in underserved communities.

Our Objective is…

To support all programs in maintaining industry alignment across pathways by providing statewide opportunities for students and teachers through the 2020-21 AME Initiatives.

Our Members are…

Partners from education, government, nonprofit sector, and creative industry committed to supporting the 2020-21 AME Initiatives. Organized by working groups, the AME Coalition meets through quarterly calls, and is led by a core leadership team that also functions as the California Department of Education’s Statewide AME Advisory . Visit our Coalition page for more information on coalition partners.

What does the Coalition do?

In partnership with the California Department of Education and the CDE Foundation, CA-AME Schools has launched an initiatives campaign and is committed to providing year-round resources and opportunities posted on our news and updates page.

Partners contribute to the AME Initiatives in the following (virtual) ways:

thought leadership

program development and execution

work-based learning opportunities

tours and field trips

panel discussions

master class opportunities

conference participation

internships and externships

software and hardware

lessons, curriculum and content

financial sponsorship in the form of a tax-deductible donation to the CDE Foundation.

email to get involved.

2020-21 AME Initiatives

Background: While there are 231,000 students enrolled in AME programs across California, the experience for these students and the quality of these programs varies greatly based on things like opportunity, school funding, teacher experience, location, and industry partnerships.  Closing the achievement gap involves confronting these issues head on.  While some schools are surrounded by creative industry, others teach in rural or impoverished areas with much less exposure and access to high quality industry partnerships and experiences.  Additionally, while some teachers are deeply connected to industry, some have been in the classroom for decades and have lost touch with current industry practice. Additionally, school funding for CTE varies greatly from district to district and as a result, the experience of students varies.  Many programs are challenged with finding involved industry partners and advisors, and/or placing students in meaningful work-based learning, job shadow, and/or internship environments. 

Focus Area–School to Career Pipeline: While AME programs are tasked with preparing students for careers in creative industry, teachers often don’t have information about what entry-level positions are available for high school graduates, what skill and knowledge is required for success in those positions, and how students can navigate the landscape of the workforce to identify, apply for, and be considered for those positions. Additionally there is an equity gap because opportunity is often connected to “who you know” in creative industry and students coming from affluent areas with well-connected teachers and parents have a much greater chance of finding work, than those from less privileged communities and schools. Additionally, many industry partners are looking for young, diverse talent and don’t even realize that AME programs exist, and/or that students are being prepared for jobs in creative industry in high school programs across the state.

Essential Questions:

How do we support equity and access to industry partnerships and relevant work-based learning and/or internship experiences for students in AME programs across California? 

How might we compile work-based learning opportunities, conferences, events and resources, and better support AME students and teachers across the state in accessing these opportunities?

How might we better prepare diverse students for “jobs of tomorrow” by linking education goals to industry goals, identifying essential knowledge, skills, and tools for entry level positions across pathway?

How might we establish and get industry buy-in to build a pipeline that connects diverse students and teachers in AME programs across the state to entry-level opportunities in creative industry?

Background:  Currently, the AME Leadership Institute is the sole conference dedicated to connecting AME teachers to industry, and teachers struggle to find other accessible and immersive industry experiences to inform their curriculum, yet AME CTE teachers are tasked with making sure their curriculum is current and in alignment with evolving trends in industry. Industry can support this goal by providing externship opportunities for teachers, participating in local advisory committees, offering guest workshops and master classes, and/or offering and participating in conferences geared towards educators.  

Focus Area–Teacher workforce development and training:   Many CTE AME programs struggle to recruit and retain highly experienced and qualified teachers, especially those in rural and/or economically challenged areas.  Additionally, industry professionals might be interested in teaching, but are unaware that there is a California teaching credential that is issued based on industry experience rather than completion of a post-secondary credentialing program. CTE Teach and CTE Online are two resources available to new CTE teachers, but are not AME focused. We aim to offer year-round professional learning opportunities for current and aspiring AME teachers in the state.

Essential Questions:

How might we effectively work with industry partners and CTE program directors to identify teaching jobs for AME programs in the state, and recruit, support and retain highly experienced and qualified professionals to teach in AME programs across the sectors?       

How might we work with existing resources such as CTE Online, CTE Teach and CTE Mentor to support new AME teachers with industry-informed and pathway-specific content and professional learning opportunities? 

How might we compile AME industry-specific trainings, externship opportunities, conferences, events and resources, and better support teachers across the state in accessing these opportunities?

How might we co-plan, curate, market and grow the annual AME Leadership conference so it meets the needs of both teachers and industry?

Background information: Student Leadership is an integral aspect of high quality career technical education. The purpose of a career technical student organizations (CTSO) is to engage students in leadership and public speaking activities, connect them to industry leaders, convene at local, regional, statewide, and national conferences, and participate in industry and skill specific competitions and workshops.

Focus Area–Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) for AME. Most CTSOs are structured as clubs and/or embedded in the curriculum and framework of high school CTE programs, with a teacher or club advisor.  There are 5 national CTSOs that are recognized by the state of California (DECA, FBLA, FFA, FCCLA, SkillsUSA).  While SkillsUSA is the official CTSO for AME and has competitions for some pathways, it is not an AME specific organization, and many teachers do not feel like it is the most appropriate option for their students.  As the largest industry sector, we hope to explore the establishment of an AME CTSO option that provides work based learning and industry connected opportunities for K-12 students, is customized for AME, and prepares students for jobs of tomorrow.  

Essential Questions:

How might we collectively design an AME student leadership structure and provide students with leadership opportunities that incorporate the aspects and opportunities of a CTSO, but is designed and customized for the different AME pathways, is accessible to all AME students in the state, and is focused on preparing students for creative industry? 

How might we use the CTSO model to provide meaningful AME work based learning and career exploration experiences to elementary and middle school students as well as high-school students?

Background: The current Model Curriculum Standards for AME were drafted in 2013.  These standards drive instructional goals and outcomes and guide teachers in curriculum design.  The California Department of Education has traditionally updated these standards every 7 years. The AME standards will need to be revised and aligned to current trends and needs of industry. 

Focus Area–Certifications: AME is one of 15 industry sectors in the state of California.  The State Board of Education has determined that High Quality Career Technical Education programs offer students “industry recognized certifications”.  Local education agencies receive funding that can cover the cost of these certifications, yet there are very few (if any) AME specific certifications that are “industry recognized.” While there are product certifications (Dante, Adobe, Unity, etc) and some course-based certifications offered through association such as Avixa and USITT, there is no coherent list, or structured approach to developmentally appropriate and program-specific certifications for high school students in AME programs. We hope to develop meaningful and authentic certifications for AME programs, demonstrating job-readiness in the different pathways, and have begun this process with the demonstration sites across the state. 

Essential Questions:

What can the statewide industry advisory do to support the development and/or management of pathway specific “certifications” or “micro-credentials”  for capstone students in the following pathways: Professional Dance, Music, and Theatre; Visual and Commercial Art (photography); Visual and Commercial Art (Fine Art); Animation; Media Arts; Graphic Design; Game Design and Integration; Stage Technology; Multimedia Production (Audio); Multimedia Production (Broadcast); Film and Video Production?

How can pathway committees work with industry to align and update the AME Model curriculum standards in a coordinated way?

“Of all the career industries, the Arts, Media, and Entertainment Industry sector requires perhaps the greatest cross-disciplinary interaction because the work in this sector has a propensity to be largely project-based requiring both independent work and interdependent management skills for career success. New technologies are also constantly reshaping the boundaries and skill sets of many arts career pathways. Consequently, core arts sector occupations demand constantly varying combinations of artistic imagination, metaphoric representation, symbolic connections, and technical skills. Successful career preparation involves both in-depth and broad academic and technical preparation as well as the cultivation of twenty-first century skill assets, such as flexibility, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.” 

Jack Mitchell, CTE Model Curriculum Standards, AME Update 2012


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