Fueling Career and Technical Education with ESSER Funds

Looking to upgrade your school’s career and technical education program but not sure where to get the funds? Well, we have some great news! Schools can use their ESSER III funds for career and technical education. If you haven’t taken advantage of this funding yet, the clock is ticking! ESSER III funds are set to expire in September 2024.

What are ESSER III funds?

ESSER III funds are federal funds allocated to K-12 schools to help them respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and are intended to address the impact of the pandemic on students and schools. ESSER III funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including investing in better ventilation systems, hiring additional staff and improving programs like career and technical education. Here are some more specific ways schools can use their ESSER III funds to improve their career and technical education programs:

1. Upgrade facilities

Invest in modernizing and upgrading CTE facilities, including specialized labs, workshops, furniture and equipment, to ensure students have access to state-of-the-art learning environments. At Diversified Spaces, we have a variety of CTE-focused furniture solutions like our Apprentice and Forum collections.

2. Technology integration

Purchase advanced technology and equipment relevant to specific industries, enabling students to gain hands-on experience with tools they'll encounter in their future careers.

3. Teacher professional development

Provide training opportunities for CTE educators to stay updated on the latest industry trends and teaching practices, ensuring they can deliver high-quality instruction.

4. Industry partnerships

Collaborate with local businesses and industries to establish partnerships that offer internships, apprenticeships and mentorship opportunities for students, bridging the gap between classroom learning and the workplace.

5. Credential attainment

Use funds to support students in earning industry-recognized certifications and credentials, increasing their employability and competitiveness in the job market.

6. Career exploration

Organize career fairs, workshops, and guest speaker sessions that expose students to various career paths within the CTE field, helping them make informed decisions about their future.

More CTE funding

Don’t fret! When ESSER III funds expire in September 2024, schools still have an opportunity to take advantage of Perkins funding to use towards their CTE programs.

What is Perkins funding?

Perkins funding, officially known as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, is a federal program in the United States that provides financial support to schools and educational institutions for the enhancement and expansion of CTE programs. The grants aim to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for various careers and industries, ensuring they are well-prepared for the workforce or further education. One way schools can use this funding is to purchase specialized furniture for their CTE programs. For example, schools with culinary arts programs may use Perkins grant funding to purchase industrial-grade kitchen equipment, such as stainless steel work tables, commercial-grade mixers, and high-capacity refrigerators. Similarly, schools with construction programs can use the funding to purchase table saws, power tools and workbenches like our Apprentice Glue and Stain Bench or our Apprentice Side Clamp Bench.

Start using your funds now!

By utilizing ESSER and Perkins funds effectively, schools can transform their career and technical education programs into dynamic and responsive pathways that prepare students for success in their chosen careers. Reach out today to learn more about these two funding programs and to let us help furnish your CTE classrooms.