[Policy Update] What Does the Reauthorization of the Perkins Act Mean for CTE?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 -- Brianna Pyka

“We’ve come a long way from what we used to refer to as vocational education. Today, every job that leads to a secure future requires critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, as well as some postsecondary education or training. The best CTE programs help students prepare for this future once they graduate from high school. . . . CTE is not just about preparing some students for successful lives and careers; it’s about giving all students the tools to shape our future.”

—Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.

It’s an exciting time in the world of career and technical education (CTE). This month, Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., called on Congress to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides more than $1.1 billion in funding for the nation’s CTE programs in secondary and postsecondary institutions.

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 was last reauthorized on August 12, 2006, with the purpose of helping individuals attain the academic and technical competency necessary for success in a knowledge- and skills-based economy. The Perkins Act supports career and technical education that prepares students both for postsecondary education and careers in high-demand fields. Federal resources help ensure that career and technical programs are academically rigorous and up to date with the needs of employers and industry.

This reauthorization reflects a national shift to ensure that today’s students are prepared for the workforce of the future. Here are the priorities for the Perkins reauthorization as outlined by the Obama administration:

  • Effective alignment with today’s labor market, including clear expectations for high-quality programs
  • Stronger collaboration among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers and industry partners
  • Meaningful accountability to improve academic and employment outcomes for students
  • Local and state innovation in CTE, particularly the development and replication of innovative CTE models

Now that we’ve covered the priorities, let’s look at where the funds will specifically be used:

  • Serving as a catalyst for change by driving program improvement
  • Developing a strong accountability system that ensures quality and results
  • Strengthening the integration of academic and career and technical education
  • Ensuring access to career and technical education for special populations, including students with disabilities
  • Developing and improving curricula
  • Purchasing equipment to ensure that the classrooms have the latest technology
  • Providing career guidance and academic counseling services
  • Providing professional development and technical assistance for teachers, counselors, and administrators
  • Supporting career and technical education student organizations

CTE has outstanding potential to empower students to explore various career paths, engage students more actively in their education with personalized learning opportunities, and build positive community relationships. At Edmentum, we share in the excitement of helping prepare students for the future with CTE. Want to learn more about how our online solutions can support your CTE program? Check out our CTE Library Packages, featuring over 80 semester courses that span all 16 of the NASDCTEc Career Clusters®.