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Impact of Tech-Prep and Related Federal Policies
Federal policy also intended to improve or support vocational education through Tech-Prep, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 and the Workforce Investment Act . Tech-Prep is incorporated into Perkins III as a separate title and provides funds to create programs that will lead to attainment of an associate's degree at a community college and preparation for high-demand, technically-oriented occupations.
Only two states had structured, comprehensive tech-prep programs.
Only two states in this study had structured and comprehensive programs. In the other states, Tech-Prep programs had some identifiable characteristics, such as articulation agreements, but it was difficult to distinguish Tech-Prep courses or students from regular vocational education.
Some states also had statewide articulation agreements or dual-enrollment policies between high schools and community colleges. These policies, however, did not always enhance or support Tech-Prep as defined in Perkins.
School-to-Work has had some impact on vocational programs, but the Workforce Investment Act has had little influence.
Four of the seven states used School-to-Work funds to advance certain aspects of their vocational education programs. Respondents at nearly all the local sites in these states reported that programs begun under STW had become institutionalized and were continuing with local or state funding.
The Workforce Investment Act, on the other hand, has had minimal effect at the secondary school level in most states or local districts and schools. This is not very surprising because WIA is geared toward adult and postsecondary education.