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Data/Research: Career Preparation

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Decades of practice and history in workforce development and career education mean an endless trove of research for reporters to explore. The resources below are meant to help reporters new to the topic get their start:

Key Statistics and Federal Resources

The Department of Education’s Perkins Collaborative Research Network is the federal clearinghouse for all things related to the Perkins Act, including rules and regulations, state plans, grant programs and research.  Statistical data can be found here:

Notable Advocacy and Research Organizations

General Reading and Evaluations of Promising CTE Models

  • This 2017 report from the Brookings Institution summarizes available evidence on the effectiveness and potential benefits of CTE generally. MDRC has this helpful summary of the specific CTE models that research shows so far to be the most effective.
  • The American Enterprise Institute published a useful brief overview of the evolution of CTE, available here. More exhaustive history on the history of vocational education and CTE up through 2000 is available from a trio of reports published by the U.S. Department of Education herehere and here.
  • This 2018 report from the Urban Institute provides a good primer on the “career pathways” approach to CTE. Urban also has extensive research on the value of apprenticeships.
  • The Congressional Research Service has published several summaries of the Perkins Act, including this one from the landmark overhaul in 2006 and an update from the 2018 reauthorization of the law.
  • The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce has comprehensive resources on the value of certificates, associate’s degrees and other credentials, summarized here.
  • MDRC has  conducted rigorous evaluations of some promising CTE models including the following:
    • New York’s PTECH 9-14, which  partners high schools, local colleges and employers to create a six-year program from school to career
    • Career academies, a career-focused high school program for at-risk students
    • CareerWise Colorado, a youth apprenticeship and dual enrollment model in Colorado public high schools


Multi-State Study of Equity in CTE (Career & Technical Education Policy Exchange and Georgia State University)