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Support For Career And Technical Education Reauthorized

Wyoming Department of Education

In a feat of bipartisan cooperation, Congress has reauthorized the Perkins Act, which provides $1.1 billion for career and technical education CTE.

It’s taken lawmakers six years to reauthorize the act, largely due to struggles over how to set performance standards. Wyoming’s Senator Mike Enzi co-authored the bill that finally met bipartisan approval.

Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) Chief of Staff Dicky Shanor said the reauthorization comes with several key changes. With the roughly $4 million the state receives from the federal government, the WDE now has more say over where to allocate those funds.

“It allows the state to increase its discretionary set aside by up to 50 percent, more than we are right now to help fund new innovative local programs,” said Shanor.

Those programs teach a range of things from skilled trades to applied sciences to advanced manufacturing, and prepare K-12 students for careers in fields from business finance to wind technology.  

The bill also created an innovation and modernization fund.

“So really trying to update what we do in K-12 related to career and technical education, and rewarding everyone [who is] updating our practices to meet the needs of a 21st-century economy,” said Shanor.

Shanor said the department has a CTE team that’s already working with the Department of Workforce Services and school districts to align academic and workforce needs.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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