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Advancing Employment for Secondary Learners with Disabilities through CTE Policy and Practice

Date Posted: Monday, May 02, 2022
By: Colleen E. McKay, Marsha Langer Ellison, Emma L. Narkewicz

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V, P.L. 115-224) provides new opportunities for states to serve learners with disabilities in CTE. Perkins V specifies that learners with special population status, including learners with disabilities, need to be prepared for high-wage, high-skill, in-demand employment opportunities or post-secondary education. Perkins V requires state and local leaders to describe how CTE will be made available to learners with special population status and provides flexible funding and policy levers to achieve that goal.

Even though Perkins V is in the early stages of implementation (the law went into full effect on July 1, 2020), states can leverage facets of the new law to address the challenges of supporting CTE access and success among learners with disabilities. Perkins V emphasizes supporting learners with special population status, giving states an opportunity to:

  1. Build upon prior equity work to provide greater access to CTE among learners with disabilities.
  2. To restructure systems and policies to better support these learners.

To explore how this opportunity has been used by states in their Perkin V plans, UMass Chan Medical School partnered with Advance CTE to survey State CTE Directors for secondary education. This brief summarizes survey results, provides state examples, and offers policy and programmatic considerations.

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