Below are strategies and resources1 to help Perkins grant coordinators, campus administrators, student advisors and faculty members, identify and address equity gaps for special populations in areas of accessibility, inclusivity, and success.  Find more information about the significance of special populations in Perkins V by checking out the Perkins Career and Technical Education Primer - Specials Populations.

Professional development for faculty and administrators can also be an excellent opportunity for engaging with the most current research and innovation in CTE success for all.


Perkins V identifies the following Special Populations in CTE*

Strategies Resources
      • Implement clear system for requesting and implementing accommodations when students with disabilities are taking industry-based certification or licensure exams.
      • Build relationships with employers who have successfully employed students with disabilities – collaborate on work-based learning experiences for students with disabilities.
      • Ensure all physical spaces are accessible.
      • Display disability support services prominently in campus marketing and onboarding for students.
      • Hire a full-time disability counselor to provide students with disabilities with targeted college support and career readiness.
Strategies Resources
  • Make financial aid and scholarships easily accessible, and provide assistance with application processes to ensure their completion.
  • Provide campus childcare and/or scholarships for childcare expenses.
  • Increase access  to public services in combination with campus-based services such as financial aid, counseling and advising.
Strategies Resources
      • Showcase positive role models; arrange mentor/mentee partnerships and provide training for these partnerships.
      • Facilitate nontraditional peer groups.
      • Recruit and incentivize retention of faculty representing nontraditional fields. 
      • Encourage student mindset changes (eg. Critical thinking about media portrayal of CTE fields, teaching self-efficacy, and revising underestimation of women in STEM and trades).
      • Provide professional development for career counselors and student advisors. 
      • Provide early interventions to raise awareness and potential in non-traditional careers.
      • Educate both genders about work/life balance and high-wage/high-skill careers.
Strategies Resources
      • Collect better data (such as with an enrollment survey) on student parents and provide targeted academic support.
      • Provide campus childcare and/or scholarships for childcare expenses.
      • Build community relationships to offer childcare referral partnerships.
      • Provide well-distributed spaces for breastfeeding mothers on campus.
      • Offer multiple courses and advising delivery methods
      • Facilitate single parent peer groups to build community.
Strategies Resources
      • Provide targeted career planning services.
      • Offer flexible course delivery (online learning, evening classes, alternative weekend scheduling, and independent learning modes)
      • Partner with local employers to offer employment-based training that pays livable wages in addition to being credit-bearing.
      • Expand capacity for providing prior learning assessments for past learning.
      • Offer short-term programs with stackable certifications and credentials.
      • Provide support services such as child care, textbooks, supplies, and transportation vouchers to ease limitations of returning to school.
Strategies Resources
  • Offer clear procedures for requesting alternate language materials.
  • Offer financial aid forms and student handbooks in alternative languages appropriate for your student base.
  • Staff multi-lingual tutors in tutoring centers. 
Strategies Resources
      • Coordinate wrap-around services in partnership with community organizations and resources.
      • Provide student spaces for free meals, quiet study, storing personal belongings, shower and laundry.
      • Develop a process to identify students experiencing homelessness and professional training on how staff and faculty can meet these students needs.
      • Attendance accountability through attendance monitor, addressing barriers to attendance and revising policies that may decrease student attendance such as severe penalties or suspension from tardiness and frequent absences.
      • Offer supplemental instruction or tutoring to support students and prevent them from falling behind after missing class(es).
Strategies Resources
  • Coordinate wrap-around services in partnership with community organizations and resources.
  • Provide student spaces for free meals, quiet study, storing personal belongings, shower and laundry.
Strategies Resources
  • Coordinate wrap-around services in partnership with community organizations and resources.
  • Provide targeted career planning services.

The strategies and resources shared are sourced with permission from Nebraska Department of Education CTENational Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, and Advance CTE.

*Many individuals have identities in multiple special populations. Strategies listed for one special population may be intersectional, and even universal, in supporting more than one special population or the student body at large.

**For the purposes of Perkins, youth are identified as individuals up to age 24.


How are Perkins Funds supporting Montana's special populations?

Providing comprehensive support and assistance to CTE student at Great Falls College.

For the 23-24 grant cycle, Great Falls College is partially funding a CARE Director to provide targeted support, connecting CTE students to important resources such as finances, housing, child care, mental health support and more to ensure students are succesful in their CTE programs.

Introducing female students to the automotive industry at City College.

For the 23-24 grant cycle, City College is expanding efforts made in 22-23 to expand career awareness for female students by offering Women in Automotive courses in partnership with local industry partners, highlighting non-traditional opportunities and representation in the field.

Supporting American Indian student retention and success in CTE at Great Falls College.

In the 22-23 grant cycle, Great Falls College has been awarded special Perkins grant funds for targeted interventions supporting American Indian students in CTE. Support will come from a new position of Mentor-Ambassador for these CTE students as well opportunities for CTE faculty in consultation with Bright Trail Education

Increasing access to fire science for female students at City College.
For the 22-23 grant cycle, City College used Perkins nontraditional and targeted interventions funds to procure diversely sized gear that will allow female students to be well-equipped and welcomed into the fire science program.
Providing disability counseling services at Salish Kootenai College
For the 23-24 grant cycle, Salish Kootenai College is investing in a disability counselor who will dedicate their full-time role to counseling services for students with disabilities and providing assistance in securing campus accommodations. 
Revitalizing programming for girls in trades in Missoula.
For the 23-24 grant cycle, Missoula College is resurrecting Girls Representing in Trades (GRIT) after the program was suspended during the pandemic. GRIT introduces and trains young middle school and high school girls to the trades as promising career paths.

For questions and additional information regarding special populations in CTE, please contact:


Ciera Franks-Ongoy
Perkins Equity and Compliance Manager
(406) 449-9132