5/25/2012 - DOE Report Calls for More Effective Career and Technical Training

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DOE_CTE_blueprint_cover_2012In April, the U.S. Department of Education released Investing in America’s Future, A Blueprint for Transforming  Career and Technical Education, a document that lays out the educational goals of the Administration to help strengthen the economy, with emphasis on greater investment in and improvement of our nation's career and technical education (CTE) system.

The demands of the new knowledge-based, global economy require a workforce with postsecondary education and training. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Labor, notes, "If America is to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the end of the decade, every American should have access to at least one year of higher education or postsecondary training at an affordable cost." The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act or the Perkins Act which was passed in 2002 and reauthorized in 2006 is a key source of funding for developing America's workforce. The Act provided federal funds to support vocational and technical education programs and service to young people and adults.

But, according to the report, the existing system is failing. Postsecondary enrollment and credential attainment in the United States are lagging behind other developed countries such as Japan, Canada, and others. 

The Perkins Act is coming up for reauthorization in 2013. In order to strengthen America's competitiveness, the administration is proposing improvements in four key areas of career and technical education:

1. Effective alignment between high-quality CTE programs and labor market need to equip student with 21st-century skilsl and prepare them for in-demand occupations in high-growth industry sectors; 
2. Strong collaborations among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers, and industry partners to improve the quality of CTE programs;
3. Meaningful accountability for improving academic outcomes and building technical and employability skills in CTE programs for all students, based upon common definitions and clear metrics for performance; and
4. Increased emphasis on innovation supported by system reform of state policies and practices to support CTE implementation of effective practices at the local level. 

The complete document is posted on the Department of Education's website at this link: Investing in America’s Future, A Blueprint for Transforming  Career and Technical Education


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