The Federal Government administers the Perkins Career and Technical Education and other training programs primarily through two agencies:
- H1-B Training Grants
- Trade Adjustment Assistance
- Workforce Investment Act
- Youth Career Connect Grants
Under the Carl Perkins Act 2006, federal funds are made available to help provide vocational-technical education programs and services to youth and adults. The vast majority of funds appropriated under the Perkins Act are awarded as grants to state education agencies. These State Basic Grants are alloted to states according to a formula based on states’ populations in certain age groups and their per capita income.
Only State Boards for Vocational Education are eligible to apply for State Basic Grants. The distribution of grant funds within a state is directed to priority items established by the state in accordance with an approved state plan for vocational-technical education. Local education agencies and postsecondary institutions are eligible recipients for subgrants.
The most frequent uses of funds included: occupationally-relevant equipment, vocational curriculum materials, materials for learning labs, curriculum development or modification, staff development,career counseling and guidance activities, efforts for academic-vocational integration, supplemental services for special populations, hiring vocational staff, remedial classes, and expansion of tech prep programs.
The gap between the skills needed by the workforce, and those taught in our school system results in a skills mismatch where both the unemployment rate and the number of unfilled jobs remain high. As a result, the Obama Administration in 2012 developed a proposal for transforming Career and Technical Education (found here).
The proposal’s four key components include:
- Alignment between CTE and labor market needs;
- Collaboration among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers and industry partners;
- Accountability reforms; and
- Classroom innovation reforms
In November of 2013, the Department of Labor announced $100 million in Youth Career Connect Grants to help build “America’s Next Generation Workforce.” The funding will further assist with the goal of Department of Education’s Perkins — producing work-ready graduates.