Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Career and Technical Education (CTE) | Funding | Data Management

How to Use Data to Maximize CTE Funding

March 21st, 2024 | 11 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

Print/Save as PDF

In career and technical education (CTE), it’s paramount to make the most of your financial resources to ensure the success of your teachers, students, and program. 

To achieve the right balance that maximizes a program’s resources, CTE directors and administrators are consistently tasked with stretching state and federal funding to ensure that every dollar benefits learners. Moreover, these educational leaders are also expected to demonstrate the value of their programs as a condition of continued funding. 

With these challenges in mind, CTE administrators must illustrate the success of their programs to maximize CTE funding. The best way to achieve this goal is through utilizing CTE program data to provide a concrete record of your program’s success. 

In this article, you’ll discover how to use CTE data to maximize CTE funding in your program. Specifically, we’ll consider how data can enable you to: 

  • Receive Maximal State and Federal Funding 
  • Comply with Reporting Requirements 
  • Identify Missed Opportunities 
  • Track Employment Placement 
  • Prove Your Return on Investment

When you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a more extensive understanding of how data helps CTE programs maximize their funding and provide better opportunities for their students. 

You’ll also learn how a data management solution can help better track your program’s performance to make the most of your resources. 


Receive Maximal State and Federal CTE Funding 

To run a successful program, CTE administrators rely year after year on continued funding from state and federal educational agencies. 

The largest source of federal CTE funding comes from the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, better known as Perkins V. The Perkins Act funds CTE programs with federal monies that can be used to purchase curriculum and certifications, pay teacher salaries, and make other improvements to a program. 

The Perkins Act is administered by state departments of education, which ultimately decide how much funding a particular school or district receives and what constitutes an allowable expense under Perkins V. These education agencies also make decisions about additional funding opportunities specific to your state.

How departments of education make funding decisions varies from state to state. Sometimes, your state could offer a specific competitive grant that provides additional funding beyond that offered by Perkins V. To qualify for these grants, programs often must demonstrate their students’ success in pursuing dual credit and work-based learning (WBL) opportunities and earning industry-based certifications.


Comply With Reporting Requirements 

One of the simplest ways to help ensure continued funding is through complying with state and federal requirements for reporting CTE program data. 

At the most basic level, CTE programs are obligated to report on the number of concentrators and completers enrolled in CTE courses and programs. This gives state officials an introductory look at the number of students a particular school district serves and, therefore, its proportional need for state and federal funding. 

However, schools must also report additional numbers demonstrating a fuller picture of their CTE program. For certifications, schools are required to report both the number of students who have earned certifications as well as the number of attempts. 

State officials also look for data related to students’ participation in work-based learning (WBL) programs, including apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. In some states, programs are also asked to report on the number of students involved in career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) and even hours of community service. 

To ensure accurate reporting, it’s critical that you submit clean data reports to the agencies that require them. 

When you use a CTE-specific data management solution, you can be sure you have all the numbers you need. That way, you’ll be confident that your program is meeting legal requirements to ensure continuity of funding. 


Identify Missed Opportunities 

Another meaningful way that data helps educators make better funding decisions is by assisting leaders in identifying and preventing missed opportunities.

With so much going on in school districts and their CTE programs, it’s easy to lose sight of every occasion to use state and federal funding in your classroom strategically. Inevitably, some great opportunities fall through the cracks. This can be frustrating for administrators and teachers, who might have to wait for a future time to get the resources they need to make improvements to their classrooms and the learning experience. 

But when you use program data to your advantage, you can identify where you have missed opportunities in the past to make better decisions now and in the coming school year.

There may be a new CTE pathway you want to offer courses in. Or maybe you want to provide a new industry certification but aren’t sure you have the funding. Regardless, when you have data to reflect upon, you can better understand where you may have missed an opportunity so you can more effectively plan for the future.


Track Employment Placement 

Another way CTE administrators can work to maximize their program funding is through tracking and reporting on employment placement. 

One of the most indisputable proofs of a CTE program’s success is its ability to directly place completers with desirable employers in the community immediately after graduation. When graduates are employed immediately, it indicates a high correlation between the knowledge and skills learned in a CTE program and those desired in the marketplace in a given industry. 

The best CTE programs are able to prove that a very high percentage of their graduates are employed in the fields of their choosing within weeks or months after graduation. 

However, not every program reports this data to educational agencies. CTE administrators who can provide this information in a grant application set their programs apart as highly successful in preparing students for future opportunities. These programs are more likely to be awarded competitive grant money than those who don’t have this data available.  


Prove Your Return on Investment 

When seeking to maximize your CTE funding, you must prove the return on investment you’ve made on resources for teachers and students. After all, you need to be sure that the products and materials you’ve acquired for your program genuinely make a difference in the classroom and graduates’ careers. 

One area where demonstrating a return on investment is crucial is in proving the value of industry certifications. 

Industry certifications can make a remarkable difference in helping CTE graduates secure fulfilling careers in their communities. However, they require investing program resources in the form of time and money. You want to make sure you’re preparing students for exams that will truly make a difference in their careers! 

To maximize your funding for certifications, you want to be sure that you’re preparing students for recognized certifications that will make them stand out from their peers. More specifically, many districts need to know if offering multiple testing opportunities is financially responsible based on the cost of exams and the benefits they could receive from offering a particular certification. 

Running a data-driven return on investment report helps CTE administrators recognize which certifications are worth their future funding resources and demonstrate the value of certifications in their communities.


Make the Most of Your CTE Funding with Eduthings 

Using your CTE funding to the maximum benefit of your program is one of the most important ways to ensure your teachers and students are successful. 

Ultimately, CTE directors and administrators utilize multiple strategies to make the most of their CTE funding. However, the best way to know that you are making the right decisions for your program is to integrate data into the process. When you collect and analyze data and use it to prove the success of your program and plan for the future, you can be confident that you are making a difference in the lives of learners and doing everything you can to help them succeed. 

Although educators often use various methods to collect and measure program data, the most efficient and accurate way to handle your CTE data is with a dedicated data management solution, such as Eduthings. 

Eduthings acts as your CTE Command Center, integrating with your student information systems (SIS) to collect and store vital, CTE-specific program information, including certifications, CTSO involvement, advisory boards, inventory, and more. Eduthings revolutionizes the data management and reporting process by allowing you to effortlessly comply with regulations with accurate data that powerfully illustrates student and program success.

Want to learn more about Eduthings and if it’s right for your program? Sign up for a personalized demo! You’ll discover more about Eduthings’ specialized reports and how they can help you maximize your funding and add insight to your decisions.

Schedule Your Eduthings Demo