IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

How Did States Use ARP Funds for Career Technical Ed?

The U.S. Department of Education has detailed many ways that states are using American Rescue Plan funds to make up for lost instructional time, create new CTE and summer programs, and incentivize work-based learning.

A group of young people in technical vocational training with a teacher.
There is a correlation between students pursuing career and technical education (CTE) studies in elementary and high school and finding success later in life, as found in several studies — one in Nebraska and South Dakoka; another in North Carolina; and one conducted in New York — and states are noticing. Citing those studies, the U.S. Department of Education last month released details about how various states are utilizing stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden a year ago for CTE programs.

The stimulus funneled $1.9 trillion in relief across a wide spectrum, including the K-12 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, as a way to resuscitate the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ESSER Fund received about $122 billion of the pot, which it doled out to state and local educational agencies. The department’s fact sheet highlighted how many states have used the allotted funds to their benefit.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a public statement that adding career and technical education programs in schools has “proven to successfully reengage students and prepare them for in-demand, good paying jobs.”

“Expanded pathways from high school to the workforce can help students gain the skills and earn the credentials needed for high-growth jobs, including those that don’t require a four-year college degree,” Cardona said.

According to the fact sheet, the ARP ESSER Fund sets aside a portion of the money for students’ social, emotional, mental health and academic needs. It said 5 percent of the funds are to address learning loss; 1 percent is included for summer programs; and another 1 percent is for after-school programs. Additional funds were used to help underserved communities. Specific to COVID-19, some 2.5 percent of funds were for emergency needs relating to the pandemic, determined on a state level.

The department noted in its release that states used the funds with a CTE focus to help students and localities recover from the pandemic and guide students toward studies beyond high school. The CTE studies, with states showing improvements in kids who integrate those fields, are an emphasis of Cardona’s plan, which he highlighted earlier this year in a public statement explaining his vision for education in the U.S. Below are examples of improvements states made from the ARP ESSER funds.

  • Alaska’s Department of Education and Early Development said it intends to use its funds to increase CTE studies in two areas. One is slotted for summer programs, while another 5 percent is reserved for lost instructional time. The department also said it would give contracts to set up statewide K-12 CTE programs.
  • The Colorado Department of Education said it’s using the funds for lost instructional time, looking to create CTE programs, as well as support career-connected learning.
  • Florida’s education department is also using the funds for lost instructional time, but focusing on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Accelerator project. The goal is to create a new standard for computer science in the state.
  • The Georgia Department of Education will use the funds to make up lost instructional time and maintain co-curricular opportunities in career and technical student organizations. It will also award grants to local educational agencies to create access to career, technical, agriculture and computer science opportunities.
  • Indiana utilized the funds in many programs, all relating to CTE studies. These include incentives for students to pursue industry certifications, “teacher cadet” programs to train new educators, and competitive grants to encourage local partnerships and work-based learning opportunities.
  • The Kentucky Department of Education said it will use funds to hold career field days to address lost instructional time, as well as hold showcase events for middle and high school students to expose them to CTE opportunities. It will also use funds to help students with disabilities.
  • Maine announced it will use the funds for lost instructional time for a focused program for middle and high schoolers to connect with industry employers. The state said it will also allocate additional funds for CTE-focused summer programs.
  • Montana’s Office of Public Instruction said it will allocate the funds for lost instructional time and partner with businesses to create career paths for students through the state’s Montana Ready initiative.
  • The Nebraska Department of Education, through summer programs, said it will partner with local companies to build career readiness in students.
  • Nevada’s Department of Education announced it would use $2 million of the ESSER funds to build a work-ready curriculum. It said the studies can be implemented as a standalone course or through a CTE program.
  • The New Mexico Public Education Department said it will award funds to community-based organizations for after-school programs and will use $6 million for summer enrichment programs. Another $3.8 million is set aside for grants to invest in STEM, agriculture or CTE programs.
  • North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction said it’s funds will try to make up lost instructional time and create a teacher career pathway program for high schoolers. The program would provide students with a chance to earn college credits while still in high school.
  • The Ohio Department of Education is using its fund to issue work-based learning grants to local workforce development boards to create internships and other work-related opportunities. Some funds will also go to OhioMeansJobs centers for career counseling services.
  • Oregon will use the funds to make up for lost instructional time, helping students who need additional credits to graduate. It will also use some funds to expand its college and career counseling.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education is sending $43.5 million for emergency needs to local CTE centers.
  • Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction said it will use $2 million in funds to address lost instructional time through grants to local educational agencies. The funds will then be used to create CTE programs.