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By Rebecca B. Evers, Ed.D.
The primary legislative act that governs all career and technical programs is the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. This legislation includes the provision of the "Tech Prep" programs. The primary difference between Tech Prep and other career technical classes is that Tech Prep programs must include the following elements:
Students who successfully complete a high school Tech Prep program can move directly from high school to a community college or four-year college to complete their career and technical education.
The provisions of the Perkins Act ensure that your teen with learning disabilities has equal access to any career or technical program he chooses. Information about career and technical programs in your school district is available from school counselors, special education transition specialists, and on school district or state board of education websites. For additional information about the Perkins Act, state and local career and technical programs, and school-to-work or post-secondary education transition planning, see "Resources."
Other purposes of Tech Prep programs are to provide academic instruction in the classroom with on-the-job learning and training experiences in high-skill, high-wage, or high-demand occupations; for example: health (nursing, dentistry), computing and communications (programmer, personal computer technician), or construction (carpenter, electrician). Finally, the Tech Prep programs should be integrated into career and technical programs when possible.5
Implementation of this act is the responsibility of local public school systems with oversight by the state departments of education who report state efforts and results to the U.S. Department of Education. If you are concerned that your local school is not meeting your teen's needs in regard to offering career and occupational training or Tech Prep programs, contact the local school district office.
Listed below are a number of provisions in the Perkins Act that are important to students with disabilities and apply to high school and community college career and technical programs.
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