U.S. Vocational Education System

October 14, 2010
Definition, Federal Legislation and Trends
Vocational Education – “training for a specific
vocation in industry or agriculture or trade”
(Webster, 1993).
Career and Technical Education (CTE) – “provides
technical knowledge and skills aligned with academic
standards that are needed to prepare for further
education and careers in current or emerging
professions” (2006 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical
Education Improvement Act).
The U.S. workforce development system consists of several
dozen programs or funding streams that are funded at about
$20 billion.
These funds are administered by 15 federal departments and
independent agencies, but the majority are located in:
 U.S. Department of Labor
 U.S. Department of Education, or
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
2009 (a.k.a., Stimulus)
A direct response to the economic crisis, the Recovery Act
has three immediate goals:
 Create new jobs and save existing ones
 Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
 Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in
government spending
The Recovery Act intends to achieve those goals by:
 Providing $288 billion in tax cuts and benefits for millions of working families
and businesses
 Increasing federal funds for education and health care as well as entitlement
programs (such as extending unemployment benefits) by $224 billion
 Making $275 billion available for federal contracts, grants and loans
Workforce Investment Act of 1998
Administered by U.S. Dept of Labor, Employment and
Training Administration (ETA)
Consolidated about 40 Labor Department job training
programs (e.g., JTPA, Job Corps, Adult Basic Education, etc.)
Provides an overall structure for the nation’s workforce
development system
Established business-led workforce investment boards
Provides one-stops-centers in every state to help users
navigate the federal job-training maze
The National Apprenticeship Act of 1937
Administered by U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and
Training Administration (ETA), Office of Apprenticeship
Provides a national system for skilled and technical
occupational training, which promotes apprentices, registers
apprenticeship programs, certifies apprenticeship standards,
and safeguards the welfare of apprentices.
Combines on-the-job learning with related technical
instruction to teach workers the theoretical and practical
aspects of skilled occupations.
Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act of 1984
re-authorized as the Carl D. Perkins Career and
Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006
Administered by the U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of
Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE)
 Includes 1) secondary, 2) post-secondary and 3) adult
education levels
 First legislative use of the term “Career and Technical
Education (CTE)”
 Focuses on academic standards that are needed to prepare
for further education and careers in current or emerging
Perkins legislation mandates that “as a regular part of its
assessments, the National Center for Educational Statistics
(NCES) shall collect and report information on career and
technical education from a nationally representative sample of
The data on the following slides has been extracted from:
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Career and Technical
Education in the United States: 1990 to 2005, NCES 2008-035, by Karen Levesque, Jennifer
Laird, Elisabeth Hensley, Susan Choy, and Emily Forrest Cataldi. Project Officer: Lisa Hudson.
Washington, D.C.: 2008.
For more information visit: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/index.asp
16 Career Clusters in the U.S. DOE model:
Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Architecture & Construction
Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications
Business, Management & Administration
Education & Training
Government & Public Administration
Health Science
Hospitality & Tourism
Human Services
Information Technology
Law, Public Safety & Security
Marketing, Sales & Service
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Secondary level
Business, health care, and computer sciences are most
Family and consumer sciences
General labor market preparation
Occupational programs
Business management
Business services
Communication technology
Computer Technology
Other technology
Mechanics and repair
Materials production
Print production
Other precision production
Health care
Child care and education
Protective services
Food service and hospitality
Personal and other services
Postsecondary level
Business and marketing and health care are most common
Agriculture and natural resources
Business and marketing
Computer sciences
Engineering and architectural
Health care
Personal and consumer sciences
Protective services
Public, social, human, and legal
 Trade and industry
Adult level
Includes education and training programs designed to help
adults acquire, maintain, and upgrade their workforce skills.
Business, health, and computers are most common
Secondary level
88 percent of public high schools offer CTE
 17,000 high schools offer CTE on site or through an area
CTE school
 900 full-time CTE high schools
 1,200 area CTE schools
Postsecondary level
90 percent of undergraduate postsecondary
institutions offer career education
 9,400 institutions overall offer career education programs
▪ 587,000 career credentials awarded annually by public 4-year
▪ 562,000 career credentials awarded annually by public 2-year
 The majority of career credentials are awarded by private
technical schools
Adult level
Employers are the most common providers (45 percent of
Business and industry serve 25 percent of adult participants
Undergraduate postsecondary institutions (especially
community colleges) serve about 16 percent of
participants(non-credit courses)
In 2001, there were 11 million CTE students in the U.S.
including secondary, postsecondary and adult levels.
Secondary level
90 percent of public HS graduates from the class of 2005
took at least one CTE course while in HS
 54 percent female
About one in five 2005 graduates concentrated in CTE (21
percent) earning three or more HS credits
 59 percent male
Postsecondary level
In 2004, a higher proportion of undergraduates majored in
career fields (67 percent) than in academic areas at each level
– certificate, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree
 58 percent female
 28 percent work full-time
 21 percent consider themselves to be an employee who studies vs. a
student who works (10 percent)
Adult level
In 2004-2005, 37 percent of labor force members
participated in work-related courses
Community and Technical Colleges
1,500 nationwide
About 30 percent of all career and adult education
credentials are provided by community colleges.
 Career Education (credit)
▪ Certificate
▪ Associate degree
 Continuing (Adult) Education & Workforce Development (non-credit)
▪ Continuing education certificate
▪ Certification and licensure
▪ Contract training
Dual and concurrent enrollment
Energy-related “green” and sustainability
Homeland security
Information assurance (Cyber security)
Daniel P. Mosser, Ph.D.
Vice President for
Corporate and Continuing Education
College of Southern Maryland
La Plata, Maryland
Phone: 301/934-7547
E-mail: [email protected]

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