Special Needs

Special Needs

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 defines special populations as:

  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including foster children
  • Individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment
  • Single parents, including single pregnant women
  • Individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited English proficiency

The term individual with a disability means an individual with any disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Economically disadvantaged family or individual includes families or individuals who are determined to be low-income according to the latest available data from the Department of Commerce.  Other indicators include Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); Food Stamps; Chapter 1, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (EDEA); free or reduced lunch, National School Lunch Act; Pell Grant; or Title II, Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

Foster children are children who receive, share or are afforded parental care and nurturing from an adult who is not a legal or blood relative.

Nontraditional men and women are persons entering a career education program or occupation nontraditional to their gender.  An enrollment of 75 percent of one gender is considered traditional.

single parent is an individual who is unmarried or separated from their spouse and is pregnant or has sole or joint custody of a minor child or children.

The term displaced homemaker means an individual who -

(A) has worked primarily without remuneration to care for a home and family, and for that reason has diminished marketable skills; has been dependent on the income of another family member but is no longer supported by that income; or is a parent whose youngest dependent child will become ineligible to receive assistance under social security; and

(B) is unemployed or under employed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.

Individuals with other barriers to educational achievement may include students who under previous career education legislation were considered educationally disadvantaged.

Educationally disadvantaged means an individual who scores at or below the 25th percentile on a standardized achievement or aptitude test, whose secondary school grades are below 2.0 on a 4.0 scale (where the grade "A" equals 4.0), or who fails to attain minimal academic competencies.  This definition does not include individuals with learning disabilities.

The term individual with limited English proficiency means a secondary school student, an adult, or an out-of-school youth, who has limited ability in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and -

(A) whose native language is a language other than English; or

(B) who lives in a family or community environment in which a language other than English is the dominant language.


The Perkins Act helps provide supplementary services which are essential for members of special populations to successfully participate in career education programs. Funds may be used for:

  • Supportive personnel
  • Instructional aides and devices
  • Curriculum modification
  • Equipment modification
  • Classroom modification

Guidance, Assessment, Career Development and Placement Services can help ensure students are placed in appropriate career education programs, help them complete the programs and move successfully from school to employment or further training. Specific services in these areas may include: counseling; career assessment; occupational orientation; acquisition of career awareness and exploration materials; dropout prevention; outreach; placement and follow-up.

Basic Skills Instructors provide individual or small-group instruction in mathematics, reading and writing skills essential for successful completion of a career training program. The instruction is provided in cooperation with the career education teacher and concurrently with enrollment in a career education program.

Supplemental Professional Instructors help career education teachers provide the additional instruction that special population students require to succeed in their career education programs.

Career Education Teacher Aides assist career education teachers by reinforcing instruction, monitoring students at work stations in a laboratory, and helping with competency testing.