In order to build Iowa’s talent pipeline, all students, including special populations, must have access to quality career and technical education. State and national attention to equity in CTE is demonstrated by the Perkins V requirement that the state, school districts and community colleges engage with stakeholders in their communities to create plans supporting equity in CTE. These resources will help in the development of plans to address the equity gaps for special populations uncovered during the Perkins Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment process. This requirement is focused on supports for special populations, and challenges recipients to direct resources or supports to close performance gaps and remove barriers. These resources will serve as a guide to identify potential strategies to address the root causes of identified gaps in participation and performance by utilizing data disaggregated by gender, race and each of the nine special population groups.

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Access and Equity

Equity Leadership Academy For States

The Equity Leadership Academy for States was developed by the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) to help member education agencies guide postsecondary systems in their states to make Perkins V more effective and sustainable—with equity at the core—to help ensure all students are prepared for 21st century careers. The pilot academy engaged state-level administrator teams to: (1) adopt an equity lens to place equity at the core of work to build skills necessary to have equity-minded conversations with colleagues; (2) to build institutional capacity to support LEAs conducting an analysis of special populations; (3) to create community to build relationships with other states; and (4) to share lessons learned with members across the nation.

Iowa Cohort Members

  • Michelle Ashline, Workforce Development Manager, Turner Construction Company
  • Shadrach Banks, Student Representative, Hawkeye Community College
  • Bob Brown, Building New Careers Program Manager, United Way of Central Iowa
  • David Ford, Director, Postsecondary Readiness Lead, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency
  • Izaah Knox, Executive Director, Urban Dreams
  • Kathy Nacos-Burds, Vice President of Learning & Student Success, Northeast Iowa Community College
  • Sonia Reyes, Executive Officer, Office of Latino Affairs, Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • Jeanette Thomas, Education Consultant, Equity, Iowa Department of Education

Advance CTE Equity Kitchen Cabinet

Participants will then come back together to explore how these two topics intersect with each other and with other equity challenges.

Advance CTE's member Kitchen Cabinet and partner Committee on Equity in CTE focuses on identifying concrete strategies states can use to address equity challenges in CTE. To address the negative history of tracking low-income learners and learners of color into low-quality programs; the Equity Kitchen Cabinet project focuses on effective community engagement, and communicating about the value of CTE to historically marginalized communities.

Advance CTE Equity Kitchen Cabinet Presentation

Equity Reports, Articles and Briefs

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Special Populations

Sec. 3(48) Special Populations. The term “special populations” means:

  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including low income youth and adults
  • Individuals preparing for non- traditional fields
  • Single parents, including single pregnant women
  • Out-of-work-individuals
  • English-language learners
  • Homeless individuals described in section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Act
  • Youth who are in, or have aged out of, the foster care system;
  • Youth with a parent who is:
    • a member of the armed service
    • on active duty status


To assure accountability for services to special populations, including students pursuing nontraditional occupations, in programs funded under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).


  • Provide statewide professional development and resources to support nontraditional training programs and services to students in special populations.
  • Allocate funding for training-of-trainers in nontraditional occupations in local school districts and online.


  • Expanded career possibilities for students through support of programs that help recruit and retain students in training program for occupations that are nontraditional for their gender.
  • Helped students to be successful in nontraditional programs through the creation of positive classroom environments, encouragement of parent, peer and employer support, and efforts to support continuous program improvement.
  • Assisted local educational agencies (LEAs) to work with business and industry to help students acquire current industry skills sets.
  • Increased focus on all aspects of special populations needs in career technical education (CTE) through statewide leadership, professional development, and technical assistance to LEAs.
  • Strategies for Special Population Success: Practical Tips and Tools for Educators - NAPE - This resource helps develop plans to address equity gaps for special populations. Use this resource to identify potential strategies to address the root causes of identified gaps in participation and performance. Target strategies to address the needs of each of the special population groups to increase the potential for success.
  • Nebraska's Version of Strategies for Special Population Success: Practical Tips and Tools for Nebraska Educators
  • PIPEline to Career Success for Students with Disabilities - An adaptation of NAPE’s Program Improvement Process for Equity (PIPE), a proven, multi-year professional development and technical assistance program model, brings diverse district-based teams together to research, analyze, and determine participation and performance gap root causes for students with disabilities in career pathways.
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Nontraditional Careers

Weld Like A Girl: A Millennial Woman’s Success In A Man’s World

Construction Camp for Girls - A summer construction camp building awareness of Iowa’s high-demand jobs in the skilled trades and providing an opportunity for area middle and high school girls, ages 14 to 18, to explore construction-related careers.

Media coverage of Construction Camp for Girls:

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