Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (amending the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act)

Summary

The federal legislation that funds career and technical education (CTE), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, was most recently reauthorized in 2006 under President George W. Bush as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act. Its purpose is to develop more fully the academic, career, and technical skills of secondary and postsecondary students enrolled in CTE programs,  primarily by

  • building on the efforts of states and localities to develop challenging academic standards;
  • promoting the development of services and activities that integrate academic, career, and technical instruction, and that link secondary and postsecondary education for participating CTE students;
  • increasing state and local flexibility in providing services and activities designed to develop, implement, and improve CTE, including tech-prep education;
  • disseminating national research, and providing professional development and technical assistance, that will improve CTE programs, services, and activities.

The Perkins Act, originally scheduled to be reauthorized in 2012, was extended until the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

Why Is This Important to NAPE?

The Perkins Act is the main piece of legislation addressing CTE in the United States. It represents the largest federal investment in secondary education and one of the largest sources of federal institutional support for community colleges. It funds and strengthens CTE programs in all 50 states and territories, ensuring that programs are rigorous and that academic and technical content is linked across secondary and postsecondary education.

Additionally, many of the Perkins Act’s provisions are in line with NAPE’s mission to promote equity in CTE. The Act requires states to set targets for performance on measures of nontraditional enrollment and completion by gender, holding them accountable for ensuring that women and men participate in and complete training programs in fields where they are traditionally underrepresented. The Act also includes provisions for helping special populations (i.e., individuals with disabilities; individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including foster children; individuals preparing for nontraditional fields; single parents, including single pregnant women; displaced homemakers; and individuals with limited English proficiency) to enroll and complete CTE programs, preparing them for high-skill and high-wage employment. This makes it a key piece of legislation for furthering diversity and equity in education.

Current Status

July 25, 2018: On Wednesday afternoon, July 25, 2018, after the U. S. Senate passed HR 2353 which amends the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, now called the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act on Monday evening, July 23, 2018 with an amendment on a voice vote, the U. S. House of Representatives voted by voice vote for final passage of the legislation.  The bill now moves to the President’s desk for signature. * The full bill is available here.

June 26, 2018: The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions met on June 26th to mark up Perkins CTE.  Chairman Alexander (R-TN) offered a Bipartisan Chairmans Amendment drafted with Ranking Member Murray (D-WA), and Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Casey (D-PA).  The amendment passed unanimously on a voice vote.  No date has been set for action by the full US Senate.  The markup can be watched at Perkins CTE Markup and the full bill is available here.

June 22, 2017: The U.S. House of Representatives voted by voice vote to pass H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Learn More

May 17, 2017: Perkins CTE passes House Education and the Workforce Committee on unanimous vote. Learn More

May 4, 2017: Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce today introduced the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve career and technical education (CTE). Learn More

February 28, 2017: NAPE CEO Mimi Lufkin testified before the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, with the House Committee on Education and Workforce at a hearing titled “Providing More Students a Pathway to Success by Strengthening Career and Technical Education.” Learn More

October 1, 2016: Perkins on hold in the Senate as committee leaders wrangle with secretarial authority. Learn More

September 13, 2016: Republican and Democratic members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce today praised House passage of H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Learn More

August 2016: The USDOE released “Questions and Answers (Q & As) Regarding the Implementation of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, Version 5.0.” Look for Quick Links at the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network

July 7, 2016: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bipartisan language unanimously passed as an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute. Read Fact Sheet and Bill Summary

July 5, 2016: NAPE sends letter of support of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.

June 28, 2016: Perkins language was introduced in the House yesterday. Committee Markup is expected on July 7. Read NAPE Summary of Provisions Related to Equity in CTE and NAPE Press Release.

July 26, 2016: Rep. Davis (D-CA) introduced H.R.5641, a companion bill to the the Equity in Career and Technical Education Act introduced by Senator Hirono on June 23

June 23, 2016: Senator Hirono (D-HI) introduced S.3093, Equity in Career and Technical Education Act, which is supported by NAPE (read Summary).

May 17, 2016: The House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Helping Students Succeed by Strengthening the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.”

November 2, 2015: NAPE submitted a letter to Chairman Enzi and Ranking Member Casey with recommendations based on the Senate HELP Committees eight priorities for Perkins Reauthorization. Read Letter

October 28, 2015: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a briefing, “Improving Career and Technical Education to Help Students Succeed in the Workforce”

July 23, 2014: NAPE signs on to NCWGE letter with recommendations to the House and Senate regarding Perkins reauthorization. Read Letter

June 9, 2014: This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee will unveil the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, which will include Perkins funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.

May 14, 2014: NAPE signs on to the diverse Perkins CTE Coalition letter with recommendations to the House and Senate regarding Perkins reauthorization.

November 19, 2013: The House Committee on Education and Workforce held a hearing, “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: Improving the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act,” which provided significant indication that the House might move on Perkins in the 113th Congress. Learn More

September 20, 2013: The House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.” View Archived Webcast or Read Summary by NAPE’s Public Policy Director

July 31, 2013: The Senate HELP committee approved the Workforce Investment Act reauthorization bill, which would include $17 million additional funding for Perkins administrative programs – a 30% cut from what is currently available to most states. Read more here.

July 26, 2013: The House markup for FY 2014 Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Education) appropriations bill, which includes Perkins funding and was originally scheduled during the week, was postponed until further notice. The FY 2014 appropriations process will not be easily resolved due to disparate proposals from each chamber.

July 12, 2013: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS-Ed bill, which would restore Perkins funding to pre-sequestration levels. The Senate bill provides a $3.52 billion, or 5.4%, increase for discretionary education spending compared to FY 2013. However, the overall funding level for the approved House Labor-HHS-Ed bill is 19% below current funding levels and is expected to contain deep cuts to many programs.

April 2013: Senators, led by Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, released a letter urging the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education to restore FY 2012 Perkins funding in the FY 2014 budget.

February 2013: NAPE issued a Position Paper on the reauthorization of Perkins.

Necessary Action

NAPE does not expect Perkins to be reauthorized in 2013, despite the fact that its provisions will expire at the end of FY 2013. However, NAPE still hopes that Congress will maintain funding for secondary and postsecondary CTE programs through the Perkins Act in the FY 2014 budget. For more information on our legislative recommendations for Perkins, please visit our Perkins Reauthorization Position Paper and our Public Policy Agenda.

Resources and Publications

National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium: Perkins Act
National Skills Coalition: Perkins Act
Perkins Collaborative Resource Network
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education

Building Lifelong Economic Security Through the Career and Technical Education System: A Guide to Implementing the 2006 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act – Perkins IV (Wider Opportunities for Women, October 2008)
Equity Provisions in Perkins IV (NAPE)
Guide for Program Improvement for Perkins IV: Nontraditional CTE Program Participation and Completion (NAPE)
Guide for the Submission of State Plans (USDOE, OVAE, March 2007)
Perkins IV Implementation Q&A: Programs and Services for Special Populations  (NAPE)
Perkins Program and Policy Guidance Memorandums (USDOE, OVAE, various dates)
States Have Broad Flexibility in Implementing Perkins IV (GAO-09-683, July 29, 2009)