The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee reached bipartisan agreement on a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The Committee passed the bill on Tuesday, June 26, sending it to the full Senate for a vote.
The Senate bill contains many provisions that would help youth experiencing homelessness access career and technical education. Most notably, the bill specifies that individuals experiencing homelessness, as defined by the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Act, are one of nine “special populations.” The bill provides many additional supports and services to special populations.
Some of the bill’s provisions supporting youth experiencing homelessness include:
- State plans must be developed in consultation with McKinney-Vento State Coordinators.
- State plans must describe the criteria used to assess the extent to which local applications expand access to career and technical education for special populations.
- State plans must describe agencies’ strategies for special populations, including how they will ensure equal access and improve outcomes for special populations.
- Local plans must describe activities to prepare special populations for high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations that will lead to self-sufficiency.
- Local plans must include a comprehensive local needs assessment that include strategies to overcome barriers that result in lower rates of access or performance gaps for special populations.
- Local needs assessments must involve representatives of regional or local agencies serving homeless children and youth.
- Local funds must be used to reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for special populations participating in career and technical education, including those participating in dual or concurrent enrollment or early college high school programs, and supporting the costs associated with fees, transportation, child care, or mobility challenges for those special populations.
- States must reserve at least $50,000 or 0.1 percent of their allocation for recruitment of special populations.
- Innovation and Modernization grants may be used to support evidence-based strategies for special populations and online portals for special populations, to include opportunities for mentoring, gaining financial literacy skills, and identifying career opportunities and interests, and a platform to establish on-line savings accounts.
Evaluation and Accountability:
- State performance indicators require that states make meaningful progress toward improving the career and technical education performance of special populations.
- Annual state reports must include actual levels of performance for special populations, disaggregated data on special populations, and quantification of any disparities or gaps in performance of special populations.
- A national program evaluation must evaluate the extent to which career and technical education programs prepare special populations for employment in high-skill, high-wage occupations or for participation in postsecondary education.
The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan Perkins reauthorization bill last year. Should the Senate also pass a bill, the two chambers will need to reconcile differences between the two pieces of legislation. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee is considering the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 education funding bill, which proposes to increase Perkins funding by $102 million.