Developing a College- and Career-Ready Workforce: An Analysis of ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA
State leaders are examining their current and future economic landscapes to ensure that today’s workers are appropriately prepared for workforce demands. To establish an education-to-workforce pipeline, state leaders will need to align labor market efforts with the education pipeline to ensure a seamless system of academic, technical, and employability skills preparedness. The institutions that make up the education pipeline—including the general K–12 system, career and technical education programs, two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions, technical training programs, and pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs—are crucial partners in addressing labor market demands.
As states grapple with competing priorities and constrained resources, there is an increasing focus on efficiency and alignment among state agencies. The College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center recently analyzed and compared three federal laws that govern the education-to-workforce pipeline—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Although states have years of experience implementing these federal programs, because they are administered across different state agencies or different offices within a state agency and coordinating across initiatives can be a challenge. This brief aims to identify opportunities to connect, align, and leverage state policies, programs, and funding across these three federal laws.
Also included are:
- a workbook to facilitate cross-agency conversations to identify and plan for alignment opportunities across ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA; and
- an interactive tool that identifies specific language in the laws that address college and readiness topics and help state education agencies and local education agencies find new or greater alignment opportunities in their plans.