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.