By this point, we are all living in a Perkins V world. Here at Chmura, much of our focus has been on how we can help educators with our unparalleled local labor market data and with a positive, productive experience with the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA). We support colleges and school divisions that see the CLNA “as a chance to take an in-depth look and your entire local CTE system.”
That quote comes from ACTE’s “Maximizing Perkins V’s Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment & Local Application to Drive CTE Program Quality and Equity.” In case you missed or forgot about it, this document is one of the finest resources for educators who want to move beyond compliance and use Perkins V to make a real difference in their students’ education. It breaks down each of the CNLA’s six requirements and provides lists of stakeholders to consults, materials to review, and questions to ask to satisfy each requirement.
ACTE suggests that school divisions might capitalize on Perkins V to inspire or reinvigorate local business participation in education. One of the complaints Chmura often hears from business leaders is that their interactions with local school systems tend to be less of an opportunity to shape policy and more of a “dog and pony show” where the school system simply tries to make itself look as good as possible.
How can school divisions break that cycle and foster a stronger relationship with the businesses that will employ their graduates? “Maximize Perkins V” argues that the engagement of local stakeholders that Perkins V requires need not happen only once but can be ongoing. Imagine the quality feedback you could receive from a highly engaged business community that gets into a regular rhythm of monthly meetings engaging on central issues. “Maximize Perkins V” has questions about local labor market conditions, skills gaps, and other issues where the business community can provide critical feedback to improve students’ future outcomes.
Regardless of whether your stakeholder feedback is a one-time thing or ongoing, Chmura recommends presenting them with the data, process documentation, scope and sequence documents, and every other relevant piece of information you collect from Perkins V. An outsider’s perspective is sometimes necessary to fully evaluate the triumphs and challenges in any division’s CTE plan. Who can better tell you whether the gaps in your labor market data reflect the reality that they see than the local business community?
Both ACTE and Chmura believe that the more you invest into the Perkins process, the more you will get out of it. The structure ACTE shares in “Maximize Perkins V” has the potential to unlock a new level of civic participation in education, which will generate rich insights for educators and better outcomes for students.
Dr. Bryan Shelly is the Senior Strategist for Talent & Education for Chmura Economics and Analytics, a company that assists schools with labor market data, Perkins V, and other research-related services. Prior to joining Chmura, Bryan was an administrator for Chesterfield County Public School and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and an assistant professor at Wake Forest University.