Perkins Reauthorization Highlights

By Samantha Forehand, Realityworks Marketing Communications Manager

We have been diligently watching the Senate’s progress on reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). Passed by the Senate and the House just last week, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act aims to improve Career and Technical Education (CTE). As it moves to the President’s desk, we wanted to help our educators stay informed on what this means to them.

Accountability is a key factor
The revised bill has a theme of accountability and data collection. It will have performance indicators for CTE students and will take current requirements up a notch. The bill aims to strengthen the accountability and may require states to meet minimum requirements for funding though the requirements are not exactly laid out yet.

Limited bureaucracy from Education Department
Previously the secretary of education could negotiate goals with each state for CTE program plans. With this new bill the secretary still must approve the plans, but no longer will be involved in the process of creating those plans.

Flexibility to support local economic needs
CTE aims to bolster the workforce and as we all know, each city and even state have different economic needs. The beauty of CTE is that industry representatives can work together with education leaders to identify the skills gap seen in the local economy and help craft school programs to ensure students can take on careers that are needed. Each area will have different requirements and the bill is flexible in that matter.

Incorporation of employability skills
Employability skills and soft skills have really been buzzwords for education the past years, and the mention of them in the bill comes as no surprise. These skills are key in the alignment of CTE and careers and can be incorporated into all programs of study. The revised bill includes the integration of technical skills with interpersonal and organizational skills, communication in the workplace and how to effectively work with others.

The bill is now sitting on the President’s desk and could be signed any day. Some of the above could change. Regardless of these factors that stand out to us, this is a very promising sign of how our nation truly supports CTE.

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