Alexandria, VA—Today, President Biden unveiled his Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget request, which proposes a decrease of $25 million in foundational support for career and technical education (CTE) programs provided by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) Basic State Grant program. While we understand that the circumstances surrounding the publication of this budget were less than ideal and occurred before the final Congressional passage of FY 2022 appropriations, even simply maintaining existing levels of funding for this program will shortchange learners across the country and reduce access to high-quality CTE programming.
We appreciate and share the Administration’s interest in promoting innovative CTE programs. However, the suggested $200 million in new funding for the creation of a competitive grant program as part of the Perkins National Activities account will only benefit a small subset of communities throughout the nation, leaving other communities without the resources necessary to meet the needs of learners and employers. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education’s budget materials note that only 32 grants would be funded as part of this $200 million initiative. Distributing finite resources for CTE in this manner, which requires substantial grant application writing capacity, will only exacerbate longstanding inequities, rather than addressing them head-on.
Moreover, many of the activities envisioned as part of this proposal are already allowable uses of funds for Perkins V’s Basic State Grant program which is intended to improve the quality of all CTE programs and systems. At a time when skilled talent is needed more than ever before, the FY 2023 budget and appropriations process serves as a crucial opportunity to fully invest in our nation’s CTE capacity rather than providing inequitable support through the creation of a new competitive grant program.
As we continue to navigate economic and workforce challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need high-quality CTE programs in every community in the nation. The basic state grant is the investment that provides a baseline of funding for high-quality secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE programs across the country. Without adequate levels of funding, the systemic ability of CTE to equitably meet the needs of learners around the country is diminished. Underinvesting in CTE, as proposed here, will not keep pace with growing instructional costs or the complex demands of the labor market.
ACTE and Advance CTE look forward to working with partners in Congress to secure an increase in Perkins funding that is more reflective of the needs of the CTE community and ensures that CTE can continue to serve as a critical part of our economic recovery and meet urgent workforce needs. Significant new funding is needed to help remedy the historic underinvestment in CTE and ensure each learner has equitable opportunities to access and be successful in the high-quality CTE program of their choice.
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 visionary state leadership, cultivates best practices and speaks with a collective voice to advance high-quality CTE policies, programs and pathways that ensure career success for each learner.
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.