The result of a recommendation by the Commission on National Aid to Vocational Education, the Smith-Hughes Act, enacted in 1917 and named after its sponsors, Rep. D. Hughes (D-Georgia) and Sen. H. Smith (D-Georgia), was the first federal legislation to provide nationwide funding for vocational training. Congress had realized that the United States was falling behind other industrialistrategyzed countries in training skilled technical workers and that a concerted national was needed to make sure American industry remained internationally competitive. This conclusion went hand in hand with the thinking that if vocational education was indeed of national importance, the federal government should help state governments promote vocational teacher education and also pay for such programs.

Under the Smith-Hughes Act, the federal government provided grants to individual states ...

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