Skip Navigation Recursos en Español, Privacy, Security, Notices 
U.S. Department of Education
About ED | A-Z Index | Site Map | Contact Us 
Home Audience Grants and Contracts Financial Aid Education Resources Research and Stats Policy
 My Profile | Add to Bookmarks
Inside OVAE
High Schools
Career & Technical Education
Community Colleges
Adult Education & Literacy

OVAE Features
Upcoming Events
Grants & Programs
Contact Us
You are here: ED Homepage > OVAE > Career and Technical Education > Perkins Education Act
A r c h i v e d  I n f o m a t i o n

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, Public Law 105-332

What is Vocational-Technical Education?

The Perkins Act defines vocational-technical education as organized educational programs offering sequences of courses directly related to preparing individuals for paid or unpaid employment in current or emerging occupations requiring other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree. Programs include competency-based applied learning which contributes to an individual's academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning, problem solving skills, and the occupational-specific skills necessary for economic independence as a productive and contributing member of society.

How is the Perkins Act Administered by the Education Department?

The Department's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) administers the Perkins Act. Under the Perkins Act, federal funds are made available to help provide vocational-technical education programs and services to youth and adults. The vast majority of funds appropriated under the Perkins Act are awarded as grants to state education agencies. These State Basic Grants are allotted to states according to a formula based on states' populations in certain age groups and their per capita income.

Only State Boards for Vocational Education are eligible to apply for State Basic Grants. The distribution of grant funds within a state is directed to priority items established by the state in accordance with an approved state plan for vocational-technical education. Local education agencies and postsecondary institutions are eligible recipients for subgrants.

OVAE administers this Act to ensure equal access to programs, services, and activities addressing the nation's education and workforce needs. Within OVAE, the Division of High Schools, Postsecondary and Career Education provides national leadership in the delivery of quality vocational-technical education by assisting states in ensuring equal access to underserved populations, giving technical assistance to states in program improvement, and strengthening the capacity of states to offer programs responsive to employment sector needs.

What Federal Funding is Available?

The total appropriation for Perkins was $1.288 billion dollars in 2002. States received these funds in the form of $1.18 billion for their state basic grants and $108 million for Tech Prep. All states receive funds for secondary and postsecondary education.

How Do Schools Use Perkins Funds?

According to the National Assessment of Vocational Education study, the most frequent uses of funds included: occupationally-relevant equipment, vocational curriculum materials, materials for learning labs, curriculum development or modification, staff development, career counseling and guidance activities, efforts for academic-vocational integration, supplemental services for special populations, hiring vocational staff, remedial classes, and expansion of tech prep programs.

Why is Vocational-Technical Education Significant?

  • The United States competes in a global economy. The purpose of the Perkins Act is to prepare a workforce with the academic and vocational skills needed to compete successfully in a world market.
  • Vocational-technical education allows students to explore career options and develop the skills they will need both in school and in the workplace.
  • Vocational-technical education's combination of classroom instruction, hands-on-laboratory work, and on-the-job training meets students' different learning styles so that all may learn.
  • Vocational-technical education prepares participants for both postsecondary education and employment.
  • Vocational-technical education prepares individuals for the bulk of America's jobs. In 1996, only about 20% of America's jobs required a four-year college degree. But many jobs required some education beyond high school, often at the community college level.

How is Vocational-Technical Education Changing?

  • Vocational-technical education now incorporates both school-based and work-based learning Business partnerships are key to successful programs
  • For most occupations, postsecondary education is essential
  • Vocational-technical education now encompasses postsecondary institutions up to and including universities
  • Vocational-technical education uses more and higher technology
  • Vocational-technical education uses cyberspace as a resource

For Information:
Andrew Johnson
Phone: 202-260-4170
Fax: 202-205-5522

This page last modified—July 26, 2002 (cd).

Technical questions about the Web site:
Other inquiries/comments: