FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2023
Jori Houck (ACTE)
Stacy Whitehouse (Advance CTE)
Advance CTE, ACTE Call for Greater Investments in CTE in FY24 Budget
SILVER SPRING, MD—Today, President Biden unveiled his Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request, which includes a proposed increase of $43 million for the Basic State Grant program of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century (Perkins V). Unfortunately, this proposal does not make significant progress toward closing the growing inflationary gap facing Perkins V, which is currently estimated to be $320 million lower than fiscal year (FY) 2004 levels when adjusted for inflation.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s Raise the Bar: Lead the World platform calls for leading the world in Career and Technical Education (CTE). To lead the world in CTE requires a far greater investment than is found in the President’s FY24 budget proposal. The Perkins Basic State Grant program is our federal government’s foundational investment in CTE and is the best vehicle for realizing the Secretary’s important vision for the future – one that is critical to effectively implementing other recent federal investments in the nation’s infrastructure and advanced manufacturing capacity.
Doubling down on a competitive grant program – rather than this foundational investment – will lead to inequitable outcomes that direct resources to communities that already have the capacity to provide high-quality CTE opportunities for learners. While we appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding career-focused education opportunities to more learners, we believe these should be systemic investments rather than one-time competitive grants. For this reason, we appreciate the Administration’s recognition elsewhere in the budget that more learners should have access to at least two years of postsecondary education that leads to further educational and economic opportunities.
To maximize the potential of CTE for every learner, especially historically marginalized learners, investments in the Perkins Basic State Grant must go beyond incremental increases. Without meaningful expanded support, CTE leaders will be unable to address instructor recruitment and retention in in-demand fields; improve equity and access in work-based learning and transitions to postsecondary opportunities; and modernize program equipment and infrastructure that allows students to learn in programs responsive and reflective of industry needs. Unfortunately, this budget request falls far short of the amount needed in Perkins or elsewhere for long-term solutions to these challenges.
We are grateful that investing in CTE has broad bipartisan support in Congress. Just last month, almost one third of Congress co-sponsored resolutions in support of CTE. The learner demand for CTE continues, demonstrated by robust post-pandemic recovery in the numbers of students participating in CTE at the secondary level and steady demand for postsecondary CTE programs.
Advance CTE and ACTE are committed to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to secure an increase in Perkins V that more fully meets the needs of the CTE community, including learners, industry partners and CTE stakeholders. We must secure the investments needed to ensure every learner has the opportunities and skills needed to adapt to and succeed in our nation’s ever-changing economy and workforce.
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.
Advance CTE is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Established in 1920, Advance CTE supports state CTE leadership to advance high-quality and equitable CTE policies, programs and pathways that ensure career and college success without limits for each learner.