SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 1 Today, the White House released its Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which proposed level funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Perkins is the primary source of federal funding for education programs that provide individuals with the knowledge and skills to compete in the workforce and the largest source of federal funds for secondary schools. The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) understand tight budget constraints, but believe that a greater investment should be made in order to answer the nation's most pressing need of rebuilding the workforce.
We respectfully request that the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill include $1.4 billion to support secondary and postsecondary career technical education (CTE) through Perkins. This would be a modest increase to the $1.27 billion FY 2010 budget and would be the first increase in funding since 2002.
Recently, NASDCTEc and ACTE sent a joint letter to ask leaders of Congress to create employment opportunities for individuals by supporting an increase of Perkins funding. Since 2002, funding has actually decreased by $42 million. Enrollment in CTE has increased by more than 6 million since 1999, with about 15.6 million students taking CTE courses during the 2006-07 school year. In the last few years, CTE programs have seen record increases in enrollment, with many of the programs having wait lists for students to take CTE courses.
An increase in funding would enable CTE programs, at both the high school and postsecondary levels, to ready more skilled workers to fill the jobs that are critical to America's economy. Even more valuable in our changing economy, Perkins provides workers with transferable skills that will lead to lasting career development.
"CTE is a fundamental resource for our nation's leaders to address the critical needs of individuals to secure a job and create an infrastructure of skilled workers that is able to support the nation's economy," said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director. "Increasing funding for Perkins would be an investment in the nation's workforce and future."
"The President said during his State of the Union speech that he wants to invest in education reform that raises student achievement and inspires students to learn, which CTE excels at," said ACTE Executive Director Janet Bray. "Business and industry are looking for highly-skilled workers for high-demand careers, and CTE is the key in helping fulfill this need. It just does not make sense to increase other education programs without providing a funding increase in Perkins at a time when we are trying to improve students' knowledge and skills to be competitive in today's workforce."
Well-trained and highly-skilled workers will be the best poised to obtain high-wage jobs over the next five to 10 years, according to a 2009 White House Economic Advisory Council Report, Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow. The fastest growth among occupations will require an associate degree or postsecondary vocational award, the report added. Nationally, about 60 percent of Perkins funds are being used at the secondary level and 40 percent of these funds are used at the postsecondary level, mainly at technical schools and community colleges.
For more information about Perkins or to obtain a copy of the joint letter to Congress, please contact ACTE or NASDCTEc.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation's largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. It provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 27,000 members including teachers, counselors and administrators at the middle school, high school and postsecondary levels. For more information, please visit www.acteonline.org.
NASDCTEc is the Washington, D.C.-area based professional society of the state and territory agency heads responsible for career technical education. The association has a growing membership of over 200 members who share the State Directors' commitment to quality education at the secondary, post secondary and adult levels. Visit www.careertech.org for more information.
SOURCE Association for Career and Technical Education