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Special Populations

This page discusses the special populations defined by the federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).

What are Special Populations?

Special populations, as defined by Perkins V are:

  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including low-income youth and adults
  • Individuals preparing for nontraditional fields
  • Single parents, including single pregnant women
  • Out-of-workforce individuals
  • Homeless individuals
  • Youth who are in, or have aged out of, the foster care system
  • Youth with a parent who is a member of the armed forces and is on active duty
  • Individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited English proficiency

The California Department of Education (CDE) follows the Perkins V mandates to serve special populations and document the achievement of each group to achieve established performance levels. Areas of achievement relate to Career Technical Education program completion, earning twelfth grade diplomas, placement of twelfth graders following program completion, nontraditional program enrollment, and nontraditional career program completion. For details on reporting refer to the CDE Perkins Web page.

The CDE support for special populations is primarily delivered through regional workshops and annual statewide leadership training, via the CDE and Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges partnership, the Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee (JSPAC). Currently, all training is free and includes nationally developed materials, specifically addressed to special populations. All of the events are posted on the JSPAC web site throughout the year. Another useful item is a no cost online course that specifically addresses one of the special populations categories, nontraditional careers. National leadership for states related to special populations is available from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity.


Questions:   Program and Administrative Support Office |
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 26, 2023