Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Special Populations Program Summary

This page discusses career technical education for special populations as defined by the federal Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act.


To assure accountability for services to special populations, including students pursuing nontraditional occupations, in programs funded under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act and Workforce Investment Act.


  • 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 gender equity and nontraditional occupations in local school districts and online.
  • Market and promote CDE equity publications such as Mariposa, Images, Visions, and Encuentros.


  • 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 LEAs to work with business and industry to help place students in meaningful, self-sufficient careers.
  • Increased focus on all aspects of special populations needs in career-technical education through statewide leadership, professional development and technical assistance to local education agencies.


Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act leadership funds ($150,000 per year shared with California Community Colleges).

Students Served

These programs serve all Career-Technical Education students, but especially those classified as Special Populations under Perkins III, including:

  • Individuals with disabilities;
  • Individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including foster children;
  • Individuals preparing for non-traditional training and employment;
  • Single parents, including single pregnant women;
  • Displaced homemakers; and
  • Individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited English proficiency.


  • Approximately 150 K-12 educators attend regional professional development sessions, workshops and conferences each year. Attendees receive a variety of resources to support nontraditional training programs.
  • Several hundred Taking the Road Less Traveled toolkits have been disseminated in regional workshops and other training venues.

Contact Information

The Special Populations Program is administered by:

California Department of Education
Career and College Transition Division
Regional Occupational Centers and Programs and Workforce Development Unit
1430 N Street, Suite 4503
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mary Gallet
Education Programs Consultant

Questions:   Mary Gallet | | 916-445-5723
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 15, 2017