Perkins Legislation
About Perkins

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) is the principal source of federal funding to states and discretionary grantees for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs across the nation.

The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 was the first authorization for the Federal funding of vocational education. Subsequent legislation for vocational education (now termed career and technical education) included the Vocational Act or 1973 and the Carl D. Perkins Act of 1984 (Perkins).

Perkins was reauthorized as the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act (Perkins II) in 1990, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 1998 (Perkins III), and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV).

The fourth reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins IV) in 2006 was intended to improve the quality of career and technical education (CTE) at the secondary/postsecondary levels by integrating academics with career and technical content. Specifically, Perkins IV introduced a requirement that all local grantees offer one or more programs of study (POS): career pathways that help students make the transition from secondary to postsecondary education while pursuing an industry-recognized credential, certificate, or degree.

The legislation also introduced new accountability requirements. States must incorporate secondary accountability indicators from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the CTE students they serve, report separately on a set of Tech Prep indicators, and require local grantees to submit data and negotiate on levels of performance. Federal funding policy also changed to permit states to consolidate all or a portion of their Tech Prep allocation into the state's basic grant.

What is the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV)?

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV), which took effect in Program Year (PY) 2007 (beginning July 1, 2007), is the principal source of federal funding to states for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs. Each year under Perkins IV, Congress has appropriated more than $1.1 billion dollars for grants to states, including the basic state grants (under Title I) and tech prep grants (under Title II).

How is career and technical education defined?

Perkins IV defines career and technical education as organized educational activities that offer a sequence of courses that provides individuals with the academic and technical knowledge and skills the individuals need to prepare for further education and for careers in current or emerging employment sectors. Career and technical education includes competency-based applied learning that contributes to student’s academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills, and occupation-specific skills.

Where is career and technical education offered?

Career and technical education is offered in middle schools, high schools, community and technical colleges, and other postsecondary institutions.

How many programs of study must a State offer?

A State must offer at least two "programs of study" (POSs). Section 122(c)(1)(A) and 122(c)(1)(B) both refer to "programs of study" (POSs) in the plural when requiring a State plan to include a description of the career and technical programs of study, which may be adopted by LEAs and postsecondary institutions, and how the eligible agency will develop and implement the career and technical programs of study, respectively.

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Related Resources

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV)
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OCTAE Contact

Len Lintner
Len.Lintner@ed.gov

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