Career and technical education (CTE) prepares learners for a wide range of industries and occupations. Just a few examples of certifications available to students in CTE programs are Baking and Pastry Arts, 3D Animation Technology, Automotive Service Excellence, Certified Appliance Professional, Early Childhood Professional Certificate, Medical Administrative Assistant, and Customer Service and Sales. CTE programs offer a pathway to many industry-recognized and meaningful credentials and certifications.
It is important that postsecondary career and technical education programs are available and accessible to students with intellectual disability, as these programs offer a clear, and in many cases, the only pathway to a variety of careers. To address this need, Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network, a national technical assistance and dissemination center focused on expanding postsecondary education for students with ID, has partnered with the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities to develop a collaborative workgroup focused on expanding access to CTE for students with ID. The workgroup brings together experts in their fields to assess current practices, gather existing resources, and develop new resources to support enhanced employment outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities. Further, the workgroup conducts outreach to existing stakeholders, engaging them to build upon existing practices and develop new ones. They offer targeted dissemination avenues for currently under-resourced areas of need and critical partners for IPSE programs and students.
This workgroup, established in 2021, is working to ensure that resources are available to CTE programs on how to best support and include students with intellectual disability in their programs. As students with ID consider their options for postsecondary education, it is critical that meaningful access to career and technical programs, along with other college and university programs, are available to those that want them.