Career and technical education(CTE) is increasingly being seen as a major contributor to the recovery of the U.S. economy. However, questions exist as to the effectiveness and impact of CTE. One is whether the federal investment (Carl D. Perkins Act) in CTE is paying off. To answer this, we need to establish the internal efficiency of CTE by comparing the costs and benefits of implementing CTE at the local or state levels. A second question is whether CTE has a measurable impact. This question focuses on external effectiveness.
Answering these questions may put to rest the frequently held notion that CTE—and by association Perkins—has been largely ineffective in impacting U.S. education and workforce development. In this article, I will refer to the measurement of the internal efficiency and external effectiveness of CTE as the ROI for CTE. This article summarizes the contents of the ROI Guidebook for Career and Technical Education, which will be pub- By PRADEEP kOTAMRAJU lished by the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE).