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Perkins V: Defining Size, Scope, and Quality of CTE Programs

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Update 2/11/21: Since this article was published, the Wisconsin Perkins V State Plan was released in December 2019 and approved in June 2020. The following language was adopted regarding size, scope, and quality: “Eligible recipients will be required to meet 3 of the 5 elements below during the first two years of the grant. Consideration will be given to increase the number of requirements so that by the end of the four-year grant period eligible recipients may be required to meet 4 of the 5 required elements” (p. 35).

The Perkins V State Plan is focused on ensuring all students have access to high-quality CTE programs. This begins with the overall intent of Perkins V grant funding, which includes:

  • To identify, support, and rigorously evaluate data-driven and innovative strategies and activities;
  • To improve and modernize, not maintain, CTE programs; and
  • To ensure workforce skills taught in CTE programs are aligned with current labor market needs through high-quality career pathways.

Within these overarching goals, eligible recipients will need to demonstrate that current CTE programs address the specific size, scope, and quality requirements for each program of study (POS) or career pathway they wish to fund. This article addresses how Wisconsin defines these terms in the State Plan.

Now, let’s address the definitions of size, scope, and quality. In Wisconsin, “size” will refer to the minimum number of pathways offered within each program. Specifically, each eligible recipient must offer at least one career pathway that meets minimum requirements for quality. This may be a state-endorsed regional career pathway for those LEAs in the pilot regions and going statewide next year or a locally developed pathway that meets the minimum requirements.

Wisconsin’s definition of “scope” will call on each eligible recipient to offer a sequence of, at minimum, two CTE courses in a pathway that progress from introductory to more advanced knowledge and skills, and include options for postsecondary articulations. These pathways must be incorporated into the district’s Academic and Career Planning (ACP) service delivery and advising.

Finally, Wisconsin will define “quality” as having the following five elements in the same career pathway:

  1. A progressive sequence of at least two CTE courses
  2. A related work-based learning (WBL) experience
  3. A related industry-recognized credential (IRC)
  4. A related dual college credit option
  5. Access to career and technical student organization (CTSO) activities that align to the career pathway

These quality elements have been identified through feedback from employers and other education and workforce development partners.

A district must meet the definitions of size, scope, and quality in order to be eligible for Perkins funding. Recognizing that schools may need time to offer all five elements of quality, there will be a graduated implementation timeline. This means that for years 1 and 2 of the grant, eligible recipients must offer three of the five elements. Beginning in year 3, four of the five quality elements must be offered in order to be considered for Perkins funding.

Does your pathway include these quality elements? Do you have outdated pathways that represent industries not in demand locally, regionally, or statewide? Your local Perkins V stakeholder engagement process may become the vehicle to address these quality elements to ensure your CTE programs are offering experiences that prepare students for postsecondary education and career success.

—Submitted by Robin Kroyer-Kubicek, Education Consultant, Career Pathways, Career and Technical Education, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction