Congress just passed a bill that will reauthorize and improve the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Originally written in 1984, the legislation was last updated in 2006 and governs the quality of technical education with a goal of boosting the economy by preparing our nation’s workforce for jobs.

Programs funded through the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act can provide valuable opportunities for students with learning and attention issues after high school. According to NCLD’s State of LD report, working-age adults with learning disabilities are twice as likely to be jobless as their peers who do not have disabilities. The Career and Technical Education Act has the potential to improve outcomes for people with learning disabilities, and NCLD worked exceptionally hard to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities were considered throughout this legislative process. We are pleased to announce the legislation includes the following provisions for students with disabilities:

  • States and local entities are encouraged to use funds to increase access to and completion of career and technical education programs for special populations, which include students with disabilities; and
  • Funds from Perkins can be used to prepare and support teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, and paraprofessionals so they can provide appropriate accommodations for students who are members of special populations (including through the use of UDL); and
  • A small amount of funding (a total of .1%) will be used for the recruitment of special needs populations in order to provide access to programs that lead to high wage and in-demand careers.

These changes to the law are important first steps in making sure students with disabilities have the resources they need to succeed after high school. NCLD will continue to work to ensure that students with disabilities have access to career and technical education opportunities and are included in the implementation of this law going forward.

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