In alignment with Perkins V federal regulations, DC CTE supports schools with strategies to close the equity gaps among special population students in the District who are enrolled in Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs. In 2019, there were approximately 3,000 students who had participated in at least one year of a state approved CTE program of study. The special population groups enrolled, however, were proportionally smaller than the general population. We aim to close this gap through our Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) Program.

Guiding Principles of the DEAI Program

It is our goal to support schools and educators to build a culture that helps reduce equity gaps by interrupting institutional biases and recognizes and addresses systemic inequities so all students, faculty, and staff can thrive. The online resources and technical assistance strategies may also effectively identify and dismantle systemic barriers that have historically barred students from gaining access to or considering pursuing CTE careers.

We will do this by:

  • employing an equity lens in recruiting and retaining instructors and identifying learning, domestic, economic or cultural barriers that may prevent or discourage students from pursuing/completing CTE programs of study.
  • improving institutional capacity to address barriers and increase participation and completion rates among special population groups through professional development training and support.
  • grounding progress and outcomes in feedback and data.
  • providing resources to LEAs that demonstrate a low capacity towards building high-quality CTE programs of study.

Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion Resources

Definition of Special Population Groups

Special Population Groups include:

  • 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

Protecting Special Populations

CTE counselors and educators are expected to protect special populations within their work. Use the following resources to better support students.

  • Federal civil rights laws ensure all students/learners with disabilities can secure online or in-person access to CTE classes. A directory of DC’s Department of Behavioral Health Clinicians at DC Public and Public Charter Schools are noted here. A general introduction and directory on Children and Youth Behavioral Health Services are located here.
  • The DC Special Education Hub helps DC families by providing the tools, information, and support needed to make informed decisions to guide their child’s
  • Schools participating in DC CTE programs are required to provide English language learners (ELL) access to resources that mitigate any onboarding and/or matriculation barriers in CTE programs. For more information on ELL policies and resources to support them, click here.
  • OSSE’s McKinney-Vento Homeless program offers grant assistance to eligible schools in the District so that economically disadvantaged families, foster children, and homeless students do not face barriers leading into high-wage, high demand occupations.
  • My Child Care DC provides information about early care and education programs in DC.
  • For more information on equitable pathways to work-based learning (WBL) opportunities contact Simone Garcia at
  • For more information on participating in Career & Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) that promote non-traditional training and employment in underrepresented careers contact Candice Mott at
  • All students should be made aware of CTE programs of study through annual and continuous notices. See a sample notice here.

Professional Development for Equity Practices in CTE

Technical Assistance for Equity Practices in CTE

Explore more resources to support your school’s CTE programs.

Find professional development opportunities that support CTE programming.

Learn how to access funding for DC CTE programs at your school.