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US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Functional Statements > Office of Career, Technical, and Adult

C. ACADEMIC AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION DIVISION

The Division of Academic and Technical Education is the principal program advisor to the Assistant Secretary on matters related to secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs pursuant to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins Act) and related legislation.  The Division administers both formula and discretionary programs to States and eligible grantees for the provision of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education across the nation.  The Division provides technical assistance to States and eligible grantees on matters ranging from planning and program improvement to financial management and accountability.  The Division is responsible for implementing policy and programmatic guidance pertaining to secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs provided from OCTAE’s Policy, Research, and Evaluation Service and for monitoring States’ and eligible agencies’ compliance with the Perkins Act and related departmental regulations and policies.  The Division gathers and reports annual State accountability data to Congress and the general public in compliance with the Perkins Act.  The Division maintains liaison with other Divisions within OCTAE, other offices in the Department, the Departments of Labor, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture and Defense, as well as related professional associations and organizations, as appropriate.
The Division is divided into the following groups:

Office of the Director

The Office of the Director provides overall leadership and programmatic direction for the Division on all matters related to secondary and postsecondary career and technical education.  In performing its responsibilities, the Office of the Director:

  • Leads the Division’s management team.
  • Develops and implements an annual work plan which identifies major tasks, staff, and timelines.
  • Distributes and monitors the completion of work assignments within the Division.
  • Reviews, provides feedback on, and approves all documents developed by the Division for internal (Office and Department) and external (State and local) audiences.
  • Provides programmatic direction to the Branches on all matters pertaining to State formula and discretionary grants pursuant to the Perkins Act.
  • Provides programmatic direction on national activities that support State and local grantees funded under the Perkins Act.
  • Develops plans for and allocates available resources (staff and budget) for Division operations and activities.
  • Establishes and maintains a vigorous Division staff development and personnel recruitment strategy.
  • Maintains liaison with the National Association of State Directors for Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEC), Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), American Association for Community Colleges (AACC), National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Education Student Organizations (NCCCTESO), and other national associations involved in career and technical education.
  • Administers Public Law 105-225 – The Federal Charter for the National FFA Organization (36 U.S.C. §§ 70901 et seq.). 

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Program Administration Branch

Perkins State Formula Program
The Program Administration Branch administers State formula grants authorized under Title I (Basic Grants) and Title II (Tech Prep Grants) of the Perkins Act to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands (hereafter referred to as “the States”) to improve the academic achievement and postsecondary outcomes of career and technical education students.  In performing its responsibilities, the Branch:

  • In collaboration with the Office’s Policy, Research, and Evaluation Staff (PRES) and the Department’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), develops State plan guidance and other non-regulatory guidance documents to help States effectively implement their Perkins grant programs.
  • Reviews State plan submissions and any annual revisions in accordance with the Perkins Act.
  • Issues annual grant awards to States in accordance with the Perkins Act and applicable Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR).
  • Issues and discusses with States non-regulatory guidance on program administration, implementation, and accountability.
  • Conducts on-site monitoring visits to uphold the Department’s fiduciary responsibility to ensure grantees’ compliance with the Perkins Act and to protect against waste, fraud, and abuse, as well as to provide quality technical assistance to State and grantees in implementing the Perkins legislation.
  • Tracks corrective actions taken by States to rectify any monitoring findings.
  • Hosts technical assistance meetings and conferences to help States implement rigorous programs of study that combine academic and technical coursework and span secondary and postsecondary education.
  • Monitors States’ draw downs of funds to assure that grant funds do not lapse from availability and are used to provide career and technical education programs in accordance with the Perkins Act.
  • Serves on the Department’s Risk Management Team that monitors the implementation of Federal grant programs, including those funded under the Perkins Act, in the insular and outlying areas.

Perkins Discretionary Programs
The Branch also administers discretionary grants authorized by the Perkins Act.  Discretionary grant programs include the Pacific Career Education Improvement Program (PCEIP),  the Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program (NHCTEP), the Tribally Controlled Postsecondary  Career and Technical Institutions Program (TCPCTIP), the  Native American  Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP), the State Scholars Initiative (SSI), and other discretionary initiatives provided through Perkins Act national activity funds.  In performing its responsibilities, the Branch:

  • In collaboration with the Office’s Policy, Research, and Evaluation Services (PRES) and the Department’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), and in accordance with the Perkins Act and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations, develops program notices for publication in the Federal Register, announcing discretionary program competitions and establishing selection criteria, priorities, and program requirements.
  • Administers grant competitions and awards discretionary grants to eligible recipients in accordance with the Perkins Act and the Department’s Handbook for the Discretionary Grant Process.
  • Hosts annual technical assistance meetings for local grantees to help them implement their discretionary grant programs.
  • Conducts electronic and on-site monitoring to uphold the Department’s fiduciary responsibility to ensure grantees’ compliance with the Perkins Act and to protect against waste, fraud, and abuse in the use of Federal funds, as well as to provide quality technical assistance to State and other Perkins Act grantees in implementing the Perkins Act.
  • Monitors local grantees’ draw downs of funds to assure that grant funds do not lapse from availability and are used to provide career and technical education programs in accordance with the Perkins Act.
  • Gathers and reports annual accountability data on the outcomes of students who participate in, or receive services under, Perkins Act discretionary grant programs.

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College and Career Transitions Branch

The College and Career Transitions Branch administers national discretionary programs and initiatives that support program development and innovation in career and technical education.  These programs and initiatives are geared toward increasing student achievement, closing the achievement gap, and preparing all high school students for transitions to postsecondary education and/or careers.  In performing its responsibilities, the Branch:

  • Administers the State Scholars Initiative (SSI) which, through OCTAE’s grantee, supports State consortia of business leaders and educators working to motivate students to complete a rigorous course of study in high school that will give them a boost in college and their careers.
  • Administers Section 118 of the Perkins Act, the America’s Career Resource Network (ACRN), under which OCTAE awards grants to States and territories for career guidance and academic counseling programs and provides national-level technical assistance to assist States in developing and implementing those programs.
  • Administers the College and Careers Transition Initiative (CCTI) which strengthens the role of community and technical colleges in easing student transitions between secondary and postsecondary education by disseminating academically rigorous programs of study organized around broad occupational areas.
  • Initiates, plans, and implement workshops, seminars, and conferences addressing national priorities in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education.
  • Identifies and disseminates effective practices in secondary and postsecondary education with particular emphasis on increasing student achievement in career and technical education.
  • Develops products for parents and students regarding effective practice in high schools and postsecondary career and technical education, highlighting the importance of career and technical education, postsecondary education, and training opportunities.
  • Provides model tools for States to use to evaluate options for effective curriculum strategies, school and organizational strategies, secondary and postsecondary partnerships, assessments and professional development opportunities.

Accountability and Performance Branch

The Accountability and Performance Branch gathers and reports data on the effectiveness of career and technical education programs in accordance with the Perkins Act.  The Branch also resolves State audit findings in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel (OGC).  In performing its responsibilities, the Branch:

  • In collaboration with the office’s Policy, Research, and Evaluation Staff (PRES), develops and administers the Consolidated Annual Report (CAR) which gathers narrative, financial, and accountability data from States in accordance with the Perkins Act.
  • Negotiates annual performance levels with States for the core indicators of performance under the Perkins Act.
  • Hosts national and regional institutes and meetings for State career and technical education directors and their accountability staffs to help them improve their Perkins accountability systems.
  • Hosts bi-weekly conference calls for State career and technical education directors and their accountability staffs to discuss emerging issues and challenges in implementing Perkins accountability systems.
  • Analyzes research reports, labor supply-demand information and similar documentation, and prepares synthesis reports on the implications for secondary and postsecondary career and technical education.
  • Develops and issues annual reports to Congress and the general public containing States’ annual accountability data.
Analyzes State audit findings and issues Program Determination Letters (PDLs) to resolve audit findings. 

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Last Modified: 01/30/2014