The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which dates back to 1984, is the
primary dedicated federal funding source for career and technical education (CTE) programs.
CTE generally refers to programs offered at the secondary or postsecondary level that combine
academic instruction and occupational skills training to prepare individuals for transition to
higher education or the workplace. Although previously labeled “vocational education” and
historically associated most closely with fields like manufacturing and construction, state and
local CTE programs now cover a range of occupations across numerous career clusters,
including programs in health care, information technology, and other fields with high
concentrations of middle-skill jobs. CTE programs often provide the opportunity to earn
stackable industry-recognized credentials along well-defined career pathways, allowing
participants to enter the labor market relatively quickly while maintaining the option for further
education and training to enhance career prospects and earnings.

read the full brief here: CTE_Issue_Brief_August_2017