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The “New” Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education


February 14, 2014


The “New” Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Last week, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education officially announced its name change to the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). The office will continue to be responsible for administering federal CTE programs, as well as adult education programs, but the new name is more reflective of today's programs.

This name change has been a long time coming! After the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 was enacted, shifting federal terminology from "vocational" to "career and technical" education, ACTE began working with Congress to align the name of the federal office with the rest of the field. In 2007, we wrote to education committee leaders, "The switch to the use of 'career and technical education' represents not only a name change, but also a fundamental shift in what is defined by the term. CTE embraces a broader, more rigorous and durable set of skill preparation that creates myriad options for participants."

In the years since the initial requests were made, ACTE helped work to get the name change incorporated into a number of bills, but none ever made their way through the legislative process to be signed into law. Finally, this January, Congress completed work on an omnibus appropriations bill that was structured in a way that policy riders could be included. The bill was signed into law on January 17, and officially amended the Department of Education Organization Act by striking "Office of Vocational and Adult Education" and inserting "Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education," and making other conforming amendments.

As the Department of Education said in its announcement, the term "career and technical education" is a more accurate term to describe what and how students are studying to be career-ready today!

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