CTE Federal Funding Series: Perkins

May 02, 2024
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When exploring the landscape of federal initiatives that shape college and career readiness education, the Perkins Act stands out as a significant player. It's important to note that Perkins funding in states operates in conjunction with other federal programs such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and college and career readiness measures under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This collaboration creates a robust environment for workforce development in K-12 education. With updated Perkins and WIOA state plans due this year, we initiate a three-part series to provide a comprehensive understanding of each federal act and its impact on the state and school workforce landscape, starting with Perkins.

Perkins Act Overview

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, is the primary federal funding source dedicated to enhancing career and technical education programs in schools. In the fiscal year 2022, Perkins allocated a substantial $1.38 billion to states, with 85% of the funding directly benefiting districts and postsecondary institutions through formula funding. This year, all states are required to submit a new or updated 4-year state plan by May 10.

Components of a Perkins State Plan

States can either submit a new four-year state plan for FY 2024 through 2027 or a one-year annual revision to establish State Determined Performance Levels (SDPL) for FY 2024. As states prepare new or updated Perkins plans, certain considerations and components come into play:

  • Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA): This mandated assessment requires all eligible Perkins funding recipients to closely examine their entire CTE ecosystem to bridge the gap between programs offered and labor market needs for continuous improvement. States must create a template CLNA process for eligible Perkins recipients to conduct every two years and include it with their local application to more deliberately connect planning and spending decisions focused on improving the quality of programs and closing equity gaps.
    • Minimum CLNA Components:
      1. Performance on federal accountability indicators;
      2. Alignment to labor market needs;
      3. Size, scope, and quality of programs offered;
      4. Progress toward implementing programs and programs of study;
      5. Recruitment, retention, and training of faculty and staff; and
      6. Progress toward improving access and equity
    • State Examples of CLNA Best Practices
  • Program Quality Indicators: States must choose one of three core indicator options to measure secondary program quality to assess the effectiveness and impact of CTE programs. About a third of states have selected more than one program quality indicator, with four states selecting all three options. Twenty-nine percent of states have selected at least one other program.
  • Quality indicator options:
  1. Recognized postsecondary credential attainment: The percentage of CTE concentrators graduating from high school with a recognized postsecondary credential.
  2. Postsecondary credit attainment: The percentage of CTE concentrators graduating from high school having attained postsecondary credits in the relevant CTE program or program of study earned through a dual or concurrent enrollment program or another credit transfer agreement.
  3. Work-based learning participation: The percentage of CTE concentrators graduating from high school participating in work-based learning.
  • Secondary CTE Funding Models: While the general state grant is not competitive, eligible entities, including Local Education Agencies (LEAs), are required to apply for funding on an annual basis. The Funds are allocated based on a formula prescribed by the Act, much like Title I of ESSA. While states employ differing timelines and applications to distribute Perkins funds, a secondary recipient’s application must call for at least $15,000 to ensure the grants are large enough to be effective.

By better understanding Perkins application components, you can engage more effectively in stakeholder consultation and public feedback as your state revaluates or creates its new plan. However, Perkins is just one piece of the broader funding and accountability requirements for workforce education. Stay tuned for the next part of this series, where we explore the role of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in shaping workforce education ecosystems.

Edmentum’s rigorous standards-aligned solutions can unlock Perkins Funding and provide teachers with access to a robust library of CTE offerings, as well as those courses that will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, like computer science. We support students with parallel certification pathways and engage all students in career readiness starting in middle school through career exploration in core curriculum. Check out our Federal Funding Crosswalk to learn more about how Edmentum programs can help you access Perkins V funds and other federal funding sources.

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