Arkansas Division of Career and Technical Education (ADCTE)

The Division of Career and Technical Education oversees vocational and technical education in the state. It was established to “create opportunities for strong comprehensive education regardless of the student’s ultimate career choice.”

The Division of Career and Technical Education was originally created as the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education (ADWE) by Act 803 of 1997 to assume responsibility over vocational and technical education in the state. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) had previously overseen vo-tech education since its inception in 1931. Act 803 of 1997 abolished the State Board of Vocational Education, creating in its place the State Board of Workforce Education and Career Opportunities as well as ADWE, which became responsible for vo-tech education. The new department also assumed control of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) from the Vocational and Technical Education Division of ADE. Arkansas Rehabilitation Services seeks to provide “comprehensive medical, vocational, and therapy services for people with disabilities” to aid them in entering the workforce. ADWE was renamed the Arkansas Department of Career Education by Act 787 of 2009, which also renamed the board governing ADWE the State Board of Career Education. Ten years later, under Act 910 of 2019, the agency was renamed the Division of Career and Technical Education when it was reorganized under the larger umbrella of the cabinet-level Department of Education. At the same time, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) was transferred (along with the Adult Education Section of the ADE) to the Division of Workforce Services, a new division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce (ADC).

The Division of Workforce Services, Adult Education Section, manages a variety of adult education programs in Arkansas. Among these are the Arkansas GED Testing Program, which allows residents who did not graduate from high school to earn a graduate equivalent diploma (GED), and an English as a second language (ESL) program, which, through adult education centers as well as local literacy councils, provides instruction in English for non-native speakers as well as training for ESL teachers. Adult Education also oversees the Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE) program, a job-readiness program for adults seeking to expand or improve their employment. It also oversees two technical institutes in the state: Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) and Riverside Vocational Technical School in Grady (Lincoln County). In addition, ADCTE includes the Federal Surplus Property Agency, which is responsible for the donation of property declared surplus or excess by the federal government, as well as the State Approving Agency for Veterans Training, which must approve of all schools and training sites that seek to provide veterans’ education and training in Arkansas.

For additional information:
Arkansas Division of Workforce Services. (accessed August 23, 2023).

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas


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