The skills gap is growing and Career and Technical Education (CTE) is gaining in popularity. While Perkins V funding, which is the federal investment in CTE, has also grown in the last two years, it’s not nearly enough to keep pace with inflation and persistent underfunding over the last decade. Indeed, in nominal dollars, total funding under Perkins was higher in Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 than it is in the current fiscal year. Had total funding under Perkins kept pace with inflation since FY 2004, then funding this year would be over $1.958 billion. Yet, at $1.263 billion, we’re nearly $700 million short when accounting for inflation—and that says nothing of increasing funding to match increased demand.
Doubling the nation’s federal investment in CTE would show that policymakers are serious about their desire to invest in the American workforce and ensure today’s students have the skills to meet the demands of the 21st century labor market. Workforce shortages exist all across the economy, and CTE is helping to fill those gaps and fuel the talent pipeline. But operating these programs can be expensive, and federal dollars are critical to maintaining, improving, and scaling them.
The new Perkins V law makes important improvements in the nation’s CTE ecosystem, giving greater flexibility to state and local decision-makers, aligning programs with local labor market needs, requiring stakeholder engagement and more. Now it’s time to make the new law as effective as possible by increasing federal support for CTE programs.
ACTE stands proudly with the CTE community in urging policymakers to double the federal investment in CTE. It’s the right thing to do both for students and the American economy.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.