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Frequently Asked Questions

The "Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century" Act brings with it many changes and many questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Perkins Structure and Tenets

1. What is the focus of Perkins V?

Perkins V largely maintains the structure and key tenets of the previous law, focusing on CTE program improvement, data, and accountability.  It maintains a commitment to driving improvement of CTE through programs of study.

2. What are the application requirements?

Perkins recipients must:

  • Apply for an allocation of at least $15,001
  • Meet the requirements of at least one state approved POS or career pathway
  • Employ a licensed CTEC (or LVEC) to coordinate, lead, and advance CTE programs
  • Complete a local needs assessment and provide the results
  • Answer the federally required application questions
  • Submit annual reports
  • Sign federal, state, and program assurances

3. Where can I find the final text of the law as passed that the president signed?

The official public law is available here.

4. According to the law, the State must define certain indicators as well as size, scope, and quality. Who will make those decisions? Has it already been decided?

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) worked together to finalize Wisconsin's Perkins V State Plan. It defines the requirements for quality CTE programs in Wisconsin, including size, scope, and quality.

5. What is the status of the Perkins State Plan development? What is the timeline?

Gaining stakeholder input, making informed decisions, and developing the plan is a cooperative process between the WTCS and DPI CTE leadership. A timeline has been posted on the Perkins V webpage.

6. Can you clarify: "Perkins is a four-year grant"? Does that mean we only complete the application every four years, or that we have four years to use the funds?

When we say, "Perkins is a four-year grant," we are referring to the length of time that is covered by Wisconsin's Perkins State Plan. Wisconsin's plan covers fiscal years 2020-2023. Just as the state plan covers four years, there are specific parts of the local application that will cover four years. The CLNA, for example, must be completed every two years while the budget and data have to be submitted every year.

  Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Conduct CLNA and summarize results in application. X   X  
Complete federally required application questions. X      
Submit Perkins budget tied to CLNA-identified needs. X X X X
Address Perkins performance data and non-compliance. X X X X

1. Is stakeholder input required?

Yes, for both the needs assessment and the development of the responses to the grant application. A district or consortium must engage in consultation with stakeholders in the area served by the agency. Such stakeholders must include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Educators (such as teachers, counselors, administrators, support personnel)
  • CTE personnel from postsecondary educational institutions
  • State or local workforce development board
  • Local or regional business or industry
  • Parents
  • Students
  • Representatives of Special Populations
  • Regional or local agencies serving out of school youth, homeless and at-risk youth
  • Indian tribes or tribal organizations where applicable
  • Local or regional work-based learning partner

2. What input do stakeholders provide in the needs assessment?

Stakeholders provide input on the evaluation of the six focus areas of the CLNA. You will need to provide participant information related to who participated, how they participated, and what area they participated in. Areas of the CLNA include:

  • Student performance
  • Labor market information
  • Size, scope, and quality
  • Evaluation of progress toward implementation of pathway
  • Teacher recruitment, retention, and professional training
  • Improving access and equity

3. Are the stakeholders engaged in the process different from the CLNA leadership team?

The leadership team, referenced in the Wisconsin Guide for Conducting a Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA Guide), is the team that will lead the tasks and process of the CLNA. Your stakeholder groups should reflect the greater diversity of your community, and their role is to provide feedback on the focus areas of the CLNA and local application.

4. Who should be on the CLNA leadership team?

The makeup of the leadership team will depend on whether you're a consortium or a single district. But, at minimum, the leadership team should include at least one other administrator, in addition to the CTE coordinator and your data staff. Think about who you need to prepare communications, design strategy, handle logistics, and facilitate discussions with the different groups.

5. We already have a steering/advisory committee that performs these functions. Can we use that same group for the core stakeholder group and branch out from there?

Absolutely. If you already have a committee that steers everything related to the district, specific members or the whole group may join your leadership team.

6. One of the stakeholder groups required for the CLNA is "representatives of Indian Tribes and tribal organizations in the State, where applicable." What does "where applicable" mean?

Wisconsin CTE is adopting the same guidance on this question as Section 8538 of ESSA, which requires LEAs to consult with tribal nations before making significant decisions to ensure meaningful contributions are made. Please refer to ESSA's "Affected LEAs" document for clarification on how this requirement affects you. Every district is welcome to engage the tribes in their area to inform district or consortia CTE programs.

7. What agencies serve out-of-school youth, homeless, and at-risk youth?

This varies from community to community but could include the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, faith communities, ethnic or cultural organizations, county independent living or transitional living programs, and other organizations that support students as they transition from high school to adulthood, employment, or postsecondary education.

8. If you choose a state-endorsed regional career pathway, do you have to go through all stakeholder surveys and meetings?

Yes, all stakeholders are required to be engaged in the CLNA process, regardless of the pathway chosen.

9. I'm not familiar with some of the required stakeholder groups. Are there resources to help me determine contacts for some of the district, county, or regional stakeholders?

Links for contacts, such as district homeless liaisons, DVR, and others are provided in the CLNA guide.

CLNA: Student Performance; Equity and Access; Recruitment, Retention, and Training of Teachers

1. When will the comprehensive local needs assessment (CLNA) need to be completed in relation to the Perkins application submission of April 30?

The Perkins V application is available for completion in early March. It is advisable to make February your deadline for the comprehensive local needs assessment (CLNA) process. Applicants will be asked to provide the results of their CLNA for each focus area and career pathway, including data reviewed, gaps, needs, goals, and the activities that will be initiated to address gaps and gain the outcomes desired.

2. Is there a guiding document that DPI is preparing to help LEAs conduct the CLNA?

Yes, go to the Wisconsin Guide for Conducting the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment on the CLNA Resources webpage. Also check out available technical assistance and webinars posted there as well.

3. LEAs will have to complete a comprehensive local needs assessment. Will there be a state-produced tool that we can use?

DPI has created the CLNA Guide and has developed worksheet templates to help LEAs organize the information they collect as a part of the CLNA process. The assessment will be expected to take place between July and February in advance of (and in preparation for) the Perkins application for the next year which is available in March. Technical assistance will be available for fiscal agents and Perkins leadership team members June-January to support LEAs in completing the CLNA process.

Student Performance

1. The CLNA requires an eligible recipient, who is serving as the fiscal agent for a consortium, to analyze student performance. Should student performance data be reviewed at the school level or at the consortium level?

Each district should review and analyze their own student performance data (for CTE concentrators) including disaggregated data. The consortium fiscal agent will summarize the results of this analysis including the identification of gaps/needs and goals/activities to address the needs for the consortium as a whole. You'll find these documents on the CLNA Resources webpage.

2. What grade levels should be considered when analyzing CTE programs for access and equity?

Data to be explored is up to the district. However, districts are encouraged to examine CTE programs for access and equity in grades 9-12 as this is when career pathway courses are identified. There also may be value in analyzing data for students in middle school.

3. If we need to cross reference data with CTEERs and performance on federal indicators, we will not have certified data until December. What strategies do you recommend to address this?

School districts already have data from the most recently completed school year. It is not necessary to wait for the data to be certified in order to use it in analyses. It is more important to identify trends related to concentrators over the most recent three years to begin your analysis.

4. Does special populations data need to be disaggregated by individual subgroups? Or, in cases where personally identifiable data in small sample sizes is a concern, can data be disaggregated by "special pops" as a whole? Also, can this be done at a consortium level to address regional strategies, or should strategies be developed at the local level?

The student performance data should be disaggregated by special populations to the extent that information is available. The analysis can be done at a consortium level, but individual districts should be involved in the conversation regarding gaps. It is difficult to conduct a root-cause analysis without disaggregating by each group. For example, the reason for a gap for ELL students may be very different than for homeless students. The purpose of disaggregating data is to help determine the best activities to address a given gap. An option might be to put an asterisk in place of the actual number to protect student privacy.

5. Is it possible to provide 1) a step-by-step guide for CTECs/LVECs to access district-level data in WISEdash, or 2) the salient data, aggregated in the way DPI would like to see addressed to districts/consortiums similar to district profiles?

In order for a CTEC to access district level data, they will need to work with the district. Each district can produce reports that will include the necessary data while still maintaining student confidentiality. In the future, DPI will have some type of an accountability report, similar to Perkins IV district profiles for districts to reference.

6. Do all schools have access to data at the National Student Clearinghouse?

Postsecondary enrollment data at a summary level is available for public view and accessed through the WISEdash Public Portal. Additionally, district administrators and/or district staff with the appropriate access to WISEdash for Districts can access postsecondary enrollment data at a student-level detail.

7. Who has access to WISEdash for Districts?

School district superintendents have access and can assign access to WISEdash for Districts to specific staff members. In general, users with access to WISEdash for Districts are responsible for student data maintenance and specific data entry roles in your district’s student information system.

8. How do we request access to WISEdash for Districts?

For information on how to request access to WISEdash for Districts, visit the DPI Secure Home information page.

9. What is considered a statistically significant gap in the data?

A statistically significant gap is tied to the margin of error measured in the subpopulations. In general, districts should look for a 5 percent or more difference in performance for each population.

10. When comparing WISEdash data to district concentrators, won't there be duplication?

If your objective is to pull just CTE students and non-CTE students in your performance data review, make sure your CTE students are removed from the WISEdash data pull. Remember, WISEdash contains all student data. This includes your CTE concentrators.

11. How can districts get more training and guidance on how to export and use WISEdash data?

General training and guidance on navigating WISEdash public portal and the secure application are available online at the WISEdash FAQ page and August 25 Data workshop powerpoint.

Recruitment, Retention, and Training of Teachers

1. Please define "sustained" professional development.

Perkins defines sustained as "not stand-alone, one-day, or short-term workshops," but rather "intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, classroom-focused and to the extent practicable evidence-based" and goes on to define what may be included. What is allowed will be determined through the needs reflected in the recruitment and retention section of the CLNA.

2. With the State’s focus on pathways, will state conferences and workshops support those ideas?

Yes, if data reviewed reflects a gap and a need for such training.

Career Pathways

1. What is the purpose of the career pathway worksheet?

The worksheet serves as a tool for school districts to collect and review information related to career pathway information and analysis.

2. Will the career pathway worksheet be submitted as part of the Perkins local application?

The actual worksheet will not be submitted; however, the information collected and contained on the worksheet will be provided in the Perkins application.

3. What is the difference between a regional career pathway (RCP) and a local career pathway? Can a district adopt a regional career pathway?

The primary distinction between an RCP and a local career pathway is the manner in which they are developed and vetted by stakeholders. Regional career pathways are developed leveraging the capacity of a region through RCP collaborative groups to ease the burden on individual districts in validating career pathway components. If the district map aligns with the regional career pathway map and has been approved by the regional career pathway collaborative, [facilitated through the region's Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA)], it’s considered an RCP rather than a local pathway. Know that both an RCP and a local pathway contain similar, if not the same, elements.

Labor Market Information

1. Will specific labor market data be required for the CLNA?

For the purposes of the CLNA, the primary source of labor market data is available on the DPI LMI website. Applicants will need to describe the data reviewed, explain what was learned from it, and how the data supports a local, regional, or state workforce needs related to the career pathway including projected in-demand jobs and pay range. If the data does not support a specific pathway, there may be other local or regional labor market reports that provide justification for a local or regional workforce need. In this case, a link should be provided to the information with a description of how it supports the need for the pathway.

2. What state-level data is being provided to districts regarding LMI high priority areas? How does this align with the state plan or Wisconsin economic development focus areas?

The state process to identify high-skill in-demand career pathways relies on a series of filters from biannual Department of Workforce Development (DWD) occupational projections for higher-than-average growth and total openings. Occupations are cross-walked to career clusters via national tables and reviewed for projections across educational levels (entry, technical/middle skill, professional). This information is posted on the DPI LMI website.

Size, Scope, and Quality

1. Does an introductory course count as one of the two courses in a sequence?

Yes. A sequence of courses is required, which may include an introductory level course specific to that pathway. The “sequence of courses” means that courses build upon each other. A minimum of two courses is required to meet the definition of pathway scope.

2. Our high school offers five CTE courses as part of the career pathway. Do we need to list all of them?

Two courses are all that is required as evidence. Applicants may include an entire sequence of CTE courses aligned to the pathway. Courses that are not sequenced CTE courses and taught by a CTE teacher should not be included.

Work-Based Learning (WBL)

1. What types of experiences count as work-based learning (WBL)?

Work-based learning options may be either state-certified programs or local programs that meet the Perkins V reporting criteria for WBL as outlined below.

  1. Involves sustained interactions, either paid or unpaid, with industry or community professionals
    • Sustained = minimum of 90 hours, as described in the CBLE guide.
    • Interactions must include direct communication and involvement with industry or community professionals (not observational)
  2. Takes place in real workplace settings (as practicable) or simulated environments at an educational institution
  3. Fosters in-depth, firsthand engagement with the tasks required in a given career
  4. Aligns with a course (generally, a minimum of one semester).
  5. Must include a training agreement between the student, employer/business, and school that defines the roles and responsibilities of the student, the employer, and the school.
  6. Business and education partners work together to evaluate and supervise the experiences, which must be documented in training or learning plans and evaluation.

2. Does DPI’s state-certified employability skills standards qualify as a work-based learning experience for a local pathway? Does the student have to be working in the cluster area, or is any work placement acceptable if a student is working on employability skills?

Employability skills WBL experience can count as long as it is aligned with the career pathway that a student is pursuing. The placement and skills must be related to the career pathway, and not employability alone. For example, the placement for a student in a manufacturing pathway must be in manufacturing, not at a fast food restaurant (culinary/hospitality).

3. Are State Skill Standard Co-Op and YA programs considered Perkins WBL experiences or industry-recognized credentials (IRCs)?

While these programs do appear on the CTE Incentive Grant (TIG) approved certifications list for ACT 59 funds, they do NOT count for Perkins V Pathway IRCs. The CTE TIG funding list was developed for a different purpose that does not align with Perkins definitions for IRCs for the purpose of meeting size, scope, and quality.

4. Does the student need to be enrolled in the aligned course at the same time as the work-based learning experience?

Ideally, the aligned course and the WBL experience take place at the same time. However, this is not always possible. In some cases, the aligned course may need to be started and/or completed prior to the WBL experience. For example, it would be acceptable for a student to take a course in the spring followed immediately by WBL in the summer.

5. Can a work release program count as work-based learning?

No. Work release programs ordinarily permit students to leave school premises solely for employment. They rarely require a student to enroll in an aligned course or require business and education partners to work together to evaluate and supervise the experiences, which then must be documented in training or learning plans and evaluation. Further, the job usually does not align with a career pathway that a student is interested in.

However, these elements could be incorporated to transform your work release program into a high-quality WBL program that meets all six of the criteria. This would change the work release program into a local co-op or internship. Or you could utilize the Employability Skills Co-op framework to transform your work release program into WBL.

Dual Enrollment/College Credit

1. What are options for college credit?

Dual-credit college courses can offer effective options for creating rigorous local career pathways. Some dual-credit options take place at the high school. These options include transcripted credit, advanced standing agreements with local technical colleges, or other articulation programs, including the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) or the Partners in Education (PIE) program. Other dual-credit options take place at a college or university, including online courses. These options also include the Early College Credit Program, Start College Now, and dual-enrollment academies.

2. Which types of dual-credit or college-credit courses count toward fulfilling the size, scope, and quality requirements of Perkins V?

Determine if the dual-credit course fulfills a general education requirement, or meets an academic requirement for an academic major (related to the pathway).? While dual-credit opportunities that fulfill general education requirements or general elective credits are valuable, they are not academically related to a specific pathway, so should NOT be counted.

To meet quality requirements for a Perkins career pathway, the college-credit opportunity you provide must fulfill an entrance or graduation requirement directly related to a college major in the pathway. In other words, it must provide students a head start in the postsecondary segment of a career pathway. This includes CTE and non-CTE courses as long as the college credit earned is specific to the career pathways and counts for credit in that postsecondary program.

3. Can an AP course be considered a college-credit course?

Advanced placement (AP) courses can be included in your career pathway if a qualifying score earns students credit in a course that fulfills an entrance or graduation requirement in a program or major related to the career pathway at an IHE. If a student’s advanced placement score only earns the student credit as a general elective or only fulfills a general education requirement, it should not be included in your career pathway.

4. Do dual-credit or college courses in the career pathway need to be taught by a licensed CTE teacher?

In most cases, no. Courses taught for college credit include educators with various credentials. The essential criteria is that the college credit earned by students fulfill an entrance or graduation requirement in a program or major related to the career pathway. However, as an example, FCS courses must be taught by a CTE licensed instructor.

5. Do the dual-enrollment/college credits taken in conjunction with Youth Apprenticeship (YA) count as dual credit for a Perkins pathway?

Yes, as long as the student has the opportunity to earn college credit through an IHE.

6. Are there examples to illustrate what courses might count?

See below.

Dual Enrollment Course Career Pathway Does fill requirement Does not fill requirement
AP Psychology Human Services Needed for social work and psychology  
Calculus II Manufacturing Requirement for mechanical engineering degree  
Anatomy and Physiology Health Science Fulfills requirements for nursing and physical therapy degrees  
Physiology Construction   Does not fulfill requirements for construction
AP Psychology Information Technology   Does not fulfill requirement to enter or complete IT training

7. Are there resources to assist with determining which courses count?

In order to identify which dual enrollment courses count, you need to first know the job titles related to your pathway. Then, you can find the postsecondary programs that are related to those jobs in order to make sure the dual enrollment course fulfills an entrance or graduation requirement for the program.

There are two resources available:

  1. Industry Projection Reports by Career Cluster. This resource will show you the job titles in the career cluster related to your pathway and help you focus on the jobs that are in highest demand for your region.
  2. "Find Education and Training" widget. Located in the Department of Workforce Development's MyLMI this resource will help you identify related postsecondary education programs in your area based on job titles.

Industry-Recognized Credentials (IRCs)

1. Do only the IRCs on the approved list for CTE Technical Incentive Grant funding count for the pathway?

IRCs may go beyond the approved list. The state-approved list of IRCs is for the purposes of CTE Technical Incentive Grant (TIG) funding and is different from what is required for size, scope, and quality (SSQ) under the Perkins V career pathways. Your CLNA/pathway stakeholder or advisory group may identify IRCs not found on the state-approved IRCs list for TIG funds. An IRC may be counted as long as the IRCs listed have been identified and vetted by employer stakeholders as needed for employment. IRCs considered should be those available for high school students to obtain.

2. Does a Wisconsin technical college career pathways certificate, embedded technical diploma, technical diploma, or associate degree count as an industry-recognized credential (IRC) for a pathway as they are listed on the approved IRC list for CTE Technical Incentive Grants (TIGs)?

No, these dual-enrollment college-credit opportunities should be listed under dual-enrollment credit in the related pathway.

3. Do DPI’s State Skill Standards Co-Op and YA programs count as IRCs for a Perkins pathway?

No. While these work-based learning programs do appear on the CTE Technical Incentive Grant (TIG) approved certifications list for 2015 ACT 59 funds, they do NOT count for Perkins V pathway IRCs. The CTE TIG funding list was developed for an entirely different purpose that does not align with the size, scope, and quality requirements for a Perkins career pathway.

4. Does an IRC that is offered and earned at the postsecondary level qualify as one of the career pathway IRCs, even if it’s not offered at the secondary level? For example, if a high school does not offer an IRC due to an age restriction but is available to postsecondary students who continue in the pathway, does this certification count as part of the secondary pathway?

No. For an IRC to qualify as a quality element, it must be offered and available for high school students to earn. In general, IRCs are specialized industry certifications, defined by employers, that indicate a student has achieved a specific level of skill sets. Qualified IRCs do not include work-based learning programs or academic credentials. Please note: Do not use the State-Approved CTE Incentive Grant list as a guide to IRCs. This list is much broader and used for a different purpose, and includes work-based learning programs and academic credentials in addition to IRCs.

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)

1. Can clubs, such as robotics, Educators Rising, etc., qualify as CTSOs in a career pathway?

No, only career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) as defined in Perkins and the State of Wisconsin qualify. CTSO activities are considered an integral, intracurricular part of a career pathway.


1. What are some of the changes to the accountability system?

There are a number of changes to the accountability system. Regarding process, states will no longer specifically negotiate performance targets with the U.S. Department of Education but, rather, will include those targets in their state plans for approval. A new definition of a CTE concentrator is included in the law, and each accountability measure is linked to that definition (which, at the secondary level, is a student who has taken at least two courses in a single program).

2. When will performance-indicator (non-compliance) data be made available? How will it be addressed in the application?

FY2020-2021 data will be used to determine if a district has non-compliance with any of the accountability performance indicators. Non-compliance will be handled through a required program improvement plan and not through the Perkins grant application. More information on this will be forthcoming.

The Consortium’s Role

1. If a district is part of a consortium, do all the districts have to conduct a needs assessment?

No. Participating districts combine the funds to jointly carry out Perkins V activities. The CLNA results for a consortium will include the strengths, gaps, needs of the consortium as a whole. This includes program goals and activities that will be carried out to address gaps and increase the quality of CTE programs and student performance outcomes as needed within the consortium and it’s members.

2. From the consortium perspective, will we need to address the CLNA by geographical locations or combine them into one?

Consortia need to complete one CLNA for the entire consortium. Within the CLNA results submitted as part of the Perkins grant application, a consortium fiscal agent may determine that breaking results out by district makes sense. For example, if a group of member districts has a booming industry and are working closely with the local technical college, it may be advantageous to break it out that way.

3. I’m the fiscal agent for a consortium of more than 30 school districts with over 10 career pathways represented. Will we need to submit information about each school district's pathways?

No. However, consortia are required to gather and retain information from districts within their consortium to determine whether or not a career pathway meets the definition for size, scope, and quality. This information will not be submitted to DPI as part of the application but may be reviewed as a part of the Perkins grant monitoring process.

4. If the fiscal agent applies for the grant on behalf of a consortium, does that fiscal agent then distribute the money to the other districts?

The lead agency (fiscal agent) of the consortium applies for the funds on behalf of the consortium. The lead agency provides support that benefits the consortium as a whole. Every consortium must have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or contract that includes a list of all consortium members with signatures of the districts’ superintendents. It should also list the responsibilities of the lead agency as well as the member (participating) LEAs.


1. Did the reauthorization appropriate any increased funding?

In short, no. Perkins funding will still continue via the appropriations process each year, and policymakers will determine if funding will be below or above the authorized funding levels each year. Allocations will be determined through the same formula as in the past.

2. How may funds be used?

Perkins V requires that the funding local recipients receive under Perkins be utilized for initiatives aligned with the results of the local needs assessment in order to target unmet needs.

3. If a district only submits one career pathway as part of the application, is that where all the Perkins money will have to go?

Not necessarily. There are six different focus areas to address as part of the CLNA. Each component will most likely include gaps and needs to be addressed.  In order to use Perkins funds, the LEA must have at least one pathway that meets the definitions for size, scope, and quality.

4. Can Perkins funds be used to purchase instructional materials for a career pathway that does not meet the definition for quality?

No. According to Perkin V legislation, funds shall be used to support career and technical education programs that are of sufficient size, scope, and quality to be effective.