Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide students with relevant tools and skills that set them up for success in life and their careers, including those not typically part of traditional academic programs.
These programs offer something unique and, in many cases, tap into a student’s personal interests – even as they still provide a valuable education experience. CTE programs have countless benefits to students, and funding to implement, sustain, or grow your existing CTE programs is crucial. While there are many free resources available, having the funds to purchase basic equipment or upgrade to premium services can make a huge difference.
So where do you start when looking to fund your CTE program? The most significant source of United States government funds for CTE comes from The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, also known as “Perkins V” or “Perkins CTE grants.” It’s a grant, meaning you don’t have to pay it back, but the application process is competitive, and you’ll need to satisfy requirements as part of the grant.
Below is a brief overview on Perkins V, and what you need to know about applying for Perkins V.
About Perkins V
Perkins V is the largest federal investment in CTE. States apply to the federal Department of Education under this legislation, and the DOE allocates money to those states. Each state distributes the money it receives to school districts and postsecondary institutions. As a CTE educator or decision-maker, you can and should apply to receive part of your state’s Perkins V distribution!
Process and Timeline for Applying for Perkins V
Each state has its own unique application form, process, and requirements to receive Perkins V funds. Consult your state education department’s CTE office for deadlines, information, and application materials.
Here are some quick tips on the application process:
- Prepare to Apply for Perkins V
Since states have extended their deadline, use this additional time to learn about the grant and the application process. The more you know about these requirements, the better you can craft your application to show your readiness to meet them.
2. Research the requirements and objectives for CTE in your state
States must send the federal Department of Education a list of goals for the grant, their process for approving local recipients, and strategies for special populations. The federal Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) website has all of these materials for each state.
Read about how the state plans to spend this money and what they expect of recipients. Note any requirements in terms of program assessment, which you may have to fulfill to apply for the grant and if you receive money. There may also be requirements for consulting with educators, administrators, parents, students, or community representatives as part of your application.
3. Learn who determines funding and how they do it
Each state determines its allocations differently. They may allocate according to the number of CTE students or the actual cost of running these programs.
Requirements for establishing a CTE program also vary. Of course, this information is crucial if you’re applying to start a program, but even longstanding programs should consult this information.
Perkins V also uses the National Career Clusters® Framework to organize CTE programs according to skills, training, and potential career options. States recognize different clusters, so make sure you understand which clusters are recognized in your state.
4. Understand the CTE and funding landscapes in your state
You can research how much money your state has received and how it has been distributed in the past. Barring cuts to the overall Perkins budget, states cannot receive less funding in the future. That means looking at past numbers should give you a fair idea of how much funding is available. You should also research which sectors received more funding in your state and the overall CTE landscape in your state to make your application stand out.
For an overview of your state’s CTE landscape and current Perkins funding, the nonprofit group Advanced CTE has created a state-by-state comparison tool.
5. Review some grants
Speak to colleagues who have received federal funding and find out what may have made their application stand out. Reach out to your professional network to find people with experience writing grants. Attend webinars and read blogs from experts in the field.
Perkins V is the largest and most centralized grant for CTE, but it’s not the only one. Be sure to research other grant opportunities that may suit your program or your students.
Grants.gov can help you find grants and understand the federal grant process. It contains over 1,000 grant opportunities from 26 federal agencies. It can also help you learn more about terminology, reporting, and other places to search so you can align your application as much as possible with the process.
The Perkins Collaborative Resource Network provides state profiles, additional resources for Perkins V, and other available grants.
The National Endowment for the Arts Foundation’s Student Success Grant supports educational outcomes and student experiences for public school educators who are also NEA members.
GrantWatch is a search engine of over 1,000 workforce development grants for programs in career education. The website includes grants for youth, immigrants, and their families as well as veterans, adult learners, and displaced workers.
In addition to these federal and national grant programs, there may be state-specific grants, grants for specific industries from businesses such as Sony, or other local and specific opportunities available.
For state-specific grants, contact the CTE office in your state. Solid Professor has collected the link for each state education department’s CTE office in a convenient table.
Once your funding is received, if you have needs for upgrading equipment, you can turn to experts such as consultants.
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