Perkins Act

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act

On July 31, 2018, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was signed into law. This bill authorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) and is more commonly referred to as Perkins V.

Perkins V reflects the 100-year federal commitment to Career Technical Education (CTE) by providing federal support for CTE programs, and focusing on improving the academic and technical achievement of CTE learners, strengthening the connections between secondary and postsecondary education and improving accountability. Perkins V affords states and local communities the opportunity to implement a vision for CTE that uniquely supports the range of educational needs of students — exploration through career preparation — and balances those learners needs with the current and emerging needs of the economy.

2024 Consolidated Perkins Planning Supports

  • Introduction: Maximizing Access and Success for Special Populations in Career Technical Education
    • This introduction to a collection of briefs that will explore strategies for supporting each of the nine special populations as defined by Perkins V as well as learner groups who, while not special populations under the law, may need additional support to enroll and succeed in CTE. These include strategies for states to maximize funding for these populations of learners and permitted actions for state and local recipients to support special populations.
  • Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise Series
    • The series will examine how states can leverage data to identify and address equity gaps, rebuild trust with historically underserved communities, expand access to high-quality CTE for each and every learner, and build systems to ensure learner success.
      • These briefs discuss strategies for supporting groups of learners including students experiencing homelessness, justice-involved students and adults, students with identified disabilities, students in special education and multilingual students.
  • State Strategies to Scale Work-Based Learning
    • This guide focuses on strategies to scale high-quality work-based learning opportunities for youth and young adults. The three core elements identified for driving long-term systems change are:
      • Vision and communication,
      • Data and measurement, and
      • Resources and policy.
    • State leaders can utilize this guide to develop or strengthen work-based learning programs. This resource defines what a high-quality work-based learning program looks like, explains the elements of long-term systems change needed for a high-quality program, and identifies strategies that can support each element of systems change.
  • With Learners, Not for Learners: A Toolkit for Elevating Learner Voice in CTE
    • This toolkit provides state and local CTE leaders with actionable resources, guidance and tools to ensure CTE learner voices are elevated and heard for the improvement of CTE policies and practices. Resources include:
      • A rubric to assess the current commitments for engaging CTE Learners;
      • A worksheet to assess organizational readiness to elevate learner voice in CTE;
      • Sample focus group questions for current CTE learners; and
      • A worksheet for developing a strategy to elevate learner voice in CTE.
  • Achieving Inclusive CTE Goal-Setting Tool
    • This goal-setting tool adds a new resource in the data toolbox for state and local CTE and career pathways leaders to assess learner group data in comparison to the broader student population. With this goal-setting tool, leaders can more intentionally plan to recruit, engage and support underrepresented learner groups to increase access to high-quality CTE programs and career pathways.
  • Brave Dialogues: A Guide to Discussing Racial Equity in Career Technical Education
    • This new resource is a part of the Making Good on the Promise Series confronting the negative aspects of CTE’s legacy and defining the key challenges learners face today.
      • Through six sessions ranging from 60 to 90 minutes, this guide will walk participants of brave dialogue through critical self-reflection. The critical self-reflection framework has three components:
        • Awareness: Participants become aware of their own values, assumptions and biases as it relates to issues of race and race relations and what impact those biases may have on others.
        • Knowledge: Participants become knowledgeable of the cultural heritage, life experiences and historical backgrounds of diverse groups in society. They understand how these differences impact the choices and behaviors of people who belong to different cultural, racial and ethnic groups; how those differences are frequently perceived by society and what meanings are attached to them; and an understanding of within-group differences and the intersection of multiple identities.
        • Skills: Participants apply and translate the awareness and knowledge components of the framework towards critical self-reflection into good policy and practice.
  • The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of States’ Perkins V Priorities
    • This report outlines commonly included state plan elements that support a comprehensive and cohesive state vision and implementation plan. These hallmarks include: 
      • A shared statewide vision;
      • Ongoing and meaningful alignment and collaboration across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce systems;
      • A commitment to equity and learner support;  
      • A commitment to quality programs; 
      • Systems for attracting, retaining and developing CTE instructors;
      • The use of data-driven decision-making; and
      • A strong system of support to ensure fidelity of implementation.
  • Planning for Engagement: Identifying Key Stakeholders for Perkins V
    • This tool was designed to jumpstart  state stakeholder engagement efforts and includes strategies and tools to coordinate engagement efforts. 
  • Career Readiness Stakeholder Engagement Tool
    • The tool helps state leaders with prioritization of stakeholder engagement efforts through the use of a stakeholder map that measures the level of support and the level of influence of each stakeholder. By completing this worksheet and keeping all information on stakeholder engagement in one place, users will be better prepared to implement communications related to CTE and career readiness reforms.
  • Building the Future Workforce: A State Playbook to Shape a New Age in Federal Infrastructure Investments
    • This report, released by National Skills Coalition, offers six recommendations and four case studies that illustrate how state policymakers can connect more working people to quality infrastructure and clean energy jobs and create benefits for residents, businesses, and communities that rely on the implementation and maintenance of critical infrastructure.
  • Career Readiness Metrics Framework
    • The Career Readiness Metrics Framework sets a standard for practitioners, policymakers and researchers to evaluate whether learners are on track for and progressing through their career pathways as well as guidance on implementation for each learner level. It serves as a comprehensive list of learner-level indicator metrics (spanning middle school through adulthood).
  • Beyond the Numbers: Design Principles for CTE Data Reporting
    • This report provides nine principles for developing effective and accessible CTE data reporting tools. State and local leaders can use these design principles as a blueprint to inform the early design and development of CTE data reporting tools or as a checklist to ensure their final reports align with best practices for access and usability.
  • Policy Benchmark Tool: CTE Program of Study Approval
    • This resource will assist state and local leaders in assessing the quality of their programs. This tool lays out the non-negotiable elements of an effective policy for approving and evaluating programs of study, encompassing both secondary and postsecondary CTE, and offers an assessment rubric that state leaders can use to identify gaps in their current state policy and prioritize areas for improvement.Advance CTE Members also have exclusive access to the CTE Program Approval Policy Benchmark Tool Facilitation Guide which includes guidance for conducting a self-assessment process within a state leadership team.
  • Ensuring Career Pathway Quality: A Guide to Pathway Intervention
    • This guide outlines the different types of intervention needed for pathways and explores the steps leaders should take when making decisions to transform or phase out pathways that do not have labor market relevance.
  • Auditing a State Career and Technical Education Program for Quality
    • This guide outlines a three-phase audit process to address CTE program quality, alignment, and overall effectiveness. The guide argues that an effective CTE program audit consists of the following phases:
      • Planning and Prep: Establishing the audit rationale, priorities and program quality indicators;
      • Implementation: Identifying and collecting data for program quality indicators; and
      • Analysis and Next Steps: Translating audit results into action.

Perkins V Implementation Resources

  • Driving Quality & Equity in CTE: A State Guide to Developing the Perkins V  Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment Template 
    This tool, developed by Advance CTE with input from the Shared Solutions Workgroup on the CLNA, helps states identify the major decision points that will impact the design, development and implementation of their CLNA and related local application. It also includes a bank of questions to draw from to help states create a template that elevates and addresses state and local priorities.
  • A Guide for State Leaders: Maximizing Perkins V’s Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment & Local Application to Drive Quality and Equity in CTE
    This guide from Advance CTE provides a summary, analysis and guidance for each major component of the comprehensive local needs assessment and the decisions states can be making now to support a robust CLNA process that aligns with the state’s overall vision for CTE
  • A Guide for Local Leaders: Maximizing Perkins V’s Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment & Local Application to Drive Equality in CTE (PDF)
    This guide from ACTE provides an overview and and guidance for the comprehensive local needs assessment so that local leaders can utilize it as a tool for program improvement.
  • State Needs Assessment Crosswalk 
    This crosswalk tool, developed by Advance CTE with input from the Shared Solutions Workgroup on the CLNA, is designed to support state-level discussions about and the coordination of state- and federally required needs assessments, such as the required under Perkins V, the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Using Needs Assessments for School and District Improvement: A Tactical Guide (PDF)
    This report from the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Center on School Turnaround guides state education agencies and local education agencies through developing needs assessments.
  • Draft State Plan Guide (PDF)
    This guide from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) contains the details about the requirements for the Perkins V one-year transition plan (due Spring 2019), the four-year state plan (due Spring 2020) and additional details about OCTAE’s interpretation of Perkins V. 
  • Timeline & Plan Development (PDF)
    This two-page color infographic displays the timeline for the submission of Perkins V state plans and outlines the state plan development process.
  • Putting Your CTE Vision into Action Through Perkins V Planning
    This tool aims to help state leaders to think through where their system is working and where it needs to be pushed — and how Perkins V can help drive the changes necessary to achieve a statewide strategic vision for CTE.
  • Perkins V Leadership Levers
    This one-pager highlights the leadership levers that states may choose to exercise to advance the state’s vision for CTE in Perkins V.
  • Perkins V Funding Levers
    This tool from Advance CTE highlights the funding levers and questions to consider in Perkins V.
  • Sample Perkins V State Plan Development Timeline
    This resource shows a sample timeline for Perkins V state plan development and was designed to be modified to help states create their own timeline.
  • Perkins V: Secondary “CTE Concentrator” Definition Background (PDF)
    This resource by Advance CTE and ACTE provides context and additional information on the secondary CTE concentrator definition.
  • Communicating About Perkins V
    This tool aims to help state leaders think through their overall communications strategy throughout the process of developing and implementing your Perkins V state plan.
  • Career Readiness Stakeholder Engagement Tool (PDF)
    This tool guides users through nine steps in planning effective interactions with specific stakeholders.
  • CCSSO Stakeholder Engagement Resources (PDF)
    A summary of some of the tools and resources CCSSO has provided in support of states developing effective stakeholder engagement routines and policies.
  • Planning for Engagement: Identifying Key Stakeholders for Perkins V
    This tool outlines the types of engagement required in Perkins V and was designed to help states begin the brainstorming process for their engagement efforts related to Perkins V.
  • Stakeholders and Perkins V: Meaningful Engagement for Student Success (PDF)
    This guide contains specific strategies on how best to connect with, speak to and learn from stakeholders with a unique perspective. This tool provides detailed guidance on stakeholder engagement strategies; state examples of potential strategies; stakeholder-specific tactics; planning templates and tools; a breakdown of stakeholders with whom states are required to engage under different provisions of Perkins V; and lists of additional stakeholder engagement resources.

Find all Perkins V implementation resources in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Perkins V Policy Resources

Perkins V (September 2018)

  • Full text of Perkins V

Side-by-Side Analysis of Perkins IV and Perkins V (October 2018)

  • This document displays the text of Perkins IV alongside the text of Perkins V and includes an analysis of the changes between the two laws

Perkins V Redline (August 2018)

  • This document shows how the text of Perkins V compares to Perkins IV

Understanding Perkins V (November 2020)

  • An overview of Perkins V including its purpose, how funds are distributed and why Perkins V is an investment that matters

Major Tenets of Perkins V (August 2018)

  • A one-page overview of the major tenets of Perkins V

Summary and Analysis of Perkins V (August 2018)

  • An overview of Perkins V, including state and local implications

Infographic: Perkins V Timeline & State Plan Development Process (October 2018)

  • This two-page color infographic displays the timeline for the submission of Perkins V state plans and outlines the state plan development process.

​Advance CTE and ACTE Joint Letter on Senate Passage of Perkins V Reauthorization (July 2018)

  • A letter to the Senate in response to the Perkins V Reauthorization Bill that the Senate voted to pass on July 23, 2018

Additional Resources