Leveraging Labor Market Data for Your Perkins V Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment

February 7, 2022 by Remie Verougstraete

In 2019, the reauthorized and updated version of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act went into effect. Commonly referred to as Perkins V, the latest version of the law maintains the heart of the original legislation while incorporating several notable changes.

Perhaps the most significant change was the addition of a comprehensive local needs assessment (CLNA) in section 134(c). The vision behind requiring this new assessment, which must be updated at least every two years, was largely to strengthen alignment between CTE programs and local labor market needs, ensuring that students are trained for high-skill, high-wage, in-demand jobs in their region.

The CLNA: So far, so good?

Two years in, how is that vision panning out? According to a recent publication by Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education, 69% of CTE professionals say that the CLNA “has been beneficial to the overall improvement of the CTE program” (pg. 7). At the same time, the report acknowledges that the data gathering and analysis requirements have been a “heavy lift” (pg. 10) for many recipients and cites “further improving data capacity and use” (pg. 12) as a key area for improvement in the CLNA.

In other words, the CLNA is an effective tool, but getting the right data efficiently can be a challenge.

Lightcast supports the CTE mission

While the CLNA is relatively new, the need for easy access to reliable, understandable, and region-specific market data is not. Lightcast has been providing this information to institutions, helping them measure their impact and make informed program decisions, for over 20 years. In that time, we’ve developed a suite of software tools and tailored consulting reports to help you answer mission-critical questions, including those tied directly to Perkins V:

  • What are the highest growth industries in my service area? What occupations are part of those industries? 

  • Are our CTE programs aligned to local labor market demand? Which existing programs are not well-aligned and what new programs should we consider offering?

  • What job titles and skills appear most frequently in local job postings? What are the hiring needs of our industry partners?

  • What are the career outcomes of our CTE graduates? Are they entering high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations?

  • How do the skills taught in our CTE programs align with skills sought by employers in our region?

Case Studies

Curious how other institutions are using Lightcast data to inform their CLNA? Here’s a couple of examples:

  • McClennan Community College used a Program Demand Gap Analysis and environmental scan to lay the groundwork for their local needs assessment and streamline their application process. (Read the case study)

  • Illinois Eastern Community Colleges used Analyst to develop a repeatable process for quickly capturing detailed labor market data that’s specific to the regions they serve. (Read the case study)

To learn more about how Lightcast can help your institution answer these questions and address Perkins V requirements, please contact us or explore solutions for higher education.