On Wednesday July 14, 2004, the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee voted to reauthorize Perkins Grants, the nation’s major vocational education program. The measure (HR 4496) authorizes more than $1.3 billion for vocational and adult education programs in fiscal year 2005, under the Carl. D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act.
The grants under the Perkins Act serve primarily low-income students, usually either teens preparing for first jobs, or adults seeking training for a new career. The bill funds state grants to support a variety of vocational educational programs, and requires states to ensure courses offered will lead to a degree or a credential and that schools offer challenging academic coursework without duplicating material.
The legislation also provides funding for the Tech Prep program, which is designed to develop links between secondary and post-secondary education in order to better prepare students to make the transition into the workforce. Students in the Tech Prep program are required to take courses in math, science, communications, and technology to help ease the transition into a vocational school or community college. The bill gives $1.2 billion towards the state grant programs and $107 million towards the Tech Prep program. The full Education and the Workforce Committee may mark up the bill as early as this week.