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

Functional Statements > Office of Career, Technical, and Adult

A. Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Educationprovides overall management, policy, and program coordination for OCTAE’s program activities. OCTAE has two staff offices and one Center reporting to the Assistant Secretary.

Administrative Staff

The Administrative Staff (Staff) provides administrative and managerial support to OCTAE. The Staff establishes policies and procedures for developing and implementing all internal administrative matters such as budget, finance, management analysis, personnel, contracts and grants, general services, and computer-based word processing systems.

In carrying out its responsibilities, the Staff performs the following functions under the following categories:

Program and Salaries and Expenses Budgets

  • Develops estimates and supporting data for budget formulation and budget execution.
  • Develops budget justification narratives.
  • Prepares briefing materials, testimony, and justifications for presentation at Congressional hearings on budget requests, and responds to Congressional inquiries on budget-related issues.


  • Develops, prepares, and monitors the financial operating plans for OCTAE expenditures.
  • Certifies funds availability and obligates funds into the Department's EDCAPS system.
  • Approves and processes documents relating to travel, field readers for OCTAE discretionary grant competitions, OCTAE personnel, overtime, printing, small administrative procurements ($10,000 or less), and other expenditure documents.
  • Reviews financial reports such as Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS) reports, Education Central Automated Processing System (EDCAPS) Document Summary reports, Travel Manager Obligation report and Un-obligated Expenditures reports and performs fiscal analyses to confirm that obligations/de-obligations are posted.

Management Analysis

  • Reviews, analyzes, and prepares reorganization proposals for OCTAE, and monitors their progress through the established approval process as outlined in the Department’s Administrative Communications Directive OM: 1-103. .
  • Develops systems of OCTAE personnel workload indicators and work measurement as required by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
  • Prepares delegations of authority for OCTAE and coordinates the delegations process.


  • Maintains the personnel management system including recruitments, promotions, transfers, and terminations on all OCTAE employees; develops or reviews OCTAE position descriptions; monitors FTE allocation of staff; and provides payroll liaison services.
  • Reviews all performance appraisals for OCTAE employees (SES, PMRS, GPAS) to assure adherence to Departmental policies, directives, regulations, and ensures deadline dates are met.
  • Coordinates and controls employee development activities with the Training and Development Group.
  • Provides advice to the Assistant Secretary and OCTAE managers on labor relations matters including grievances, employee discipline, and remedial actions.
  • Initiates and processes all security clearances for OCTAE staff.

Contracts and Grants

  • Establishes and monitors the annual schedule of grant and contract activities for OCTAE.
  • Advises OCTAE management and staff on policies and procedures for procurement.

General Services

  • Develops space plans for OCTAE staff, and coordinates facilities management activities.
  • Coordinates internal OCTAE moves and telecommunication planning and implementation.
  • Provides daily messenger service to Departmental buildings.

Computer-Based Systems

  • Develops the annual OCTAE Automated Data Processing (ADP) budget plans, and monitors and maintains controls on allocated ADP funds.
  • Establishes criteria and implements and installs computer-based word processing systems throughout OCTAE offices.

Policy, Research and Evaluation Staff

The Policy, Research and Evaluation Staff (PRES) is responsible for policy analysis and development; design, oversight and analysis of research and program evaluation; and facilitation of the dynamic interaction of policy development with research and evaluation of career and technical and adult educational practices and policies. PRES is responsible for policy analysis, development of legislative and regulatory documents, and the preparation and dissemination of OCTAE program information.

In addition, PRES is responsible for overseeing and guiding all aspects of OCTAE's national programs under section 114 of the Perkins Act (specifically the national research center); program evaluation; data analysis; management of unsolicited research proposals; and development of written and electronic publications and resources pertaining to OCTAE-funded research projects.

PRES directly manages research and evaluation programs as identified by the Office of the Assistant Secretary, and PRES staff also serve as expert team members on other projects that are assigned by the Office of the Assistant Secretary to the Division of Academic and Technical Education and the Division of Adult Education and Literacy which provide day-to-day programmatic direction.

In performing its responsibilities, PRES:

  • Guides development of all materials related to legislative authorization for programs operated by OCTAE.
  • Reviews pending legislation and coordinates OCTAE responses to requests for legislative review.
  • Guides the development and publication of all written and electronic publications produced directly by OCTAE staff or by entities working with, or funded by, OCTAE through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements.
  • Guides OCTAE’s implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (including Strategic Plan) by coordinating with the Divisions in developing the performance measures/indicators for all OCTAE programs and all other related activities; and coordinates with the Department’s Accountability and Performance Branch in the development of the Strategic Plan and performance measures/indicators.
  • Guides and coordinates with the Divisions the development of national evaluations and reports (including reports to Congress) on performance of OCTAE's programs.
  • Maintains all policy memoranda, policy letters, and legal opinions pertaining to OCTAE administered programs.
  • Analyzes, as appropriate, any relevant research reports, national program evaluations, labor-supply demand and economic information, and similar documentation and prepares synthesis reports on the implications for all matters related to OCTAE programs.
  • Provides assistance to Office of the Assistant Secretary in establishing national priorities and programs.
  • Guides, in coordination with the Divisions, the development and drafting of Requests for Proposals and Federal Register notices inviting applications and assists the Divisions in preparing appropriate Information Collection packages.  Collaborates with the Divisions in reviewing applications and proposals, making recommendations for funding, negotiating of awards, and provides feedback to applicants and offerors not being funded.
  • Guides OCTAE implementation of the Department’s E-Rulemaking and Good Guidance Implementation procedures and related activities and collaborates with the Divisions in developing policy and guidance documents.
  • Develops and manages the regulations process for OCTAE programs; coordinates and controls the clearance of rules and regulations, program announcements and guidelines, and notices for publication in the Federal Register.
  • Prepares OCTAE response and leadership to the Small Business Innovative Research Program.
  • Acts as the primary OCTAE liaison with the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, the Office of the Under Secretary, other appropriate ED offices concerning OCTAE program policy, legislation and regulations, and the Office of Management and Budget, and the Government Accountability Office, on behalf of the Assistant Secretary.
  • Works with the Divisions to ensure that programmatic data-gathering and analysis required under OCTAE's legislative authorities are coordinated with those undertaken by National Center for Education Statistics, other parts of the Institute of Educational Sciences, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Civil Rights, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.


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Last Modified: 01/29/2014