Career and Technical Education Related Resources

Developed for Pennsylvania under the guidance of the Bureau of Career & Technical Education by the National Center for College and Career Transitions Last updated February 2021

Pennsylvania Special Populations Promising Practices by Category

As identified on the Pennsylvania CTE Resources website, visit and organized into special categories in Fall 2020/Winter 2021

Section 1: Individuals with Disabilities

Problem-based Learning: Building Chairs for Students with Autism

Lehigh Career and Technical Institute

Students in Lehigh Career and Technical Institute’s (LCTI) service occupations cluster (SOC) building trades maintenance program and students in the mechatronics program collaborated with the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit on a problem-based learning project- to design and build a better classroom chair for students with autism.

Student Success Form

Erie County Technical School 

Students with IEPs who are applying to Erie County Technical School (ECTS), their parents and their case managers complete a student success form to help inform families of the expectations and requirements for CTE programs at ECTS. Case managers sign off on the form indicating that they reviewed the curriculum, including reading and math levels, and the physical requirements of CTE programs with the student and family. Students also receive Program at a Glance forms that detail the required math and reading levels as well as tolerances required in the career area. The curriculum is printed on the back of the form, so parents and students can see exactly what is taught in the program. Both forms are distributed prior to tours of ECTS and prior to students registering for a CTE program.

Skill Alignment for CTE Programs

Delaware County Technical Schools

Delaware County Technical Schools (DCTS) created skill alignment charts for each CTE program. The charts document the math and literacy skills integrated into programs as well as the physical considerations and essential skills for each program. The charts help sending schools consider which students might be a good fit for the CTCs, provide CTE instructors with a tool to help them more closely align their instruction with academic content, and help facilitate collaboration between student services staff and CTE instructors on how to best meet the needs of students.

Facilitating Special Education Services

Northern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center 

The CTC partners with the Westmoreland County Intermediate Unit to employ a Special Education Facilitator who provides learning support to students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and coordinates services between four participating high schools. The special education facilitator ensures that appropriate services and plans are implemented to support the success of students with IEPs both during the program selection process and throughout their enrollment.

Assessing Student Interest and Skills to Guide Program Placement

Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center

Students with IEPs who will be attending CWCTC complete a career interest inventory and talent assessment program so that they can make informed decisions about which CTE program might best align with their interests and skills. Since first using the assessment tool in 2013, the Learning Support Facilitator has observed two positive trends. Fewer students with IEPs return to their sending schools due to a lack of interest, and fewer students with IEPs switch programs within the CTC.

NOCTI Assessment Support for Students with IEPs

Admiral Peary Area Vocational Technical School

Students with IEPs are offered a range of support services to help prepare for the NOCTI assessments. These ongoing services are aligned to meet the specific learning needs of students. Much of the support focuses on how to best help students learn and retain material or how to help them complete classroom and program assessments to fully demonstrate their understanding of concepts.

NOCTI Preparation and Support for Students with IEPs

Upper Bucks County Technical School

All students are provided multiple levels of support to help them prepare for the NOCTI exams. Students with IEPs are given additional assistance as required and needed to help them succeed on the tests.

Improving NOCTI Scores at Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center

Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center

To prepare students for the NOCTI assessment, administrators and instructors conduct data analysis to identify areas in need of improvement, set student-specific learning goals and provide ongoing support to students. Also, during the initial IEP meeting, CTC staff members work to ensure that the child is placed in the best possible program based on his/her needs and goals.  Once students are enrolled, CTC staff communicate weekly with the sending districts and participate in monthly special education meetings that provide opportunities for relevant stakeholders to be on the same page in terms of how best to serve all students.

Improving NOCTI Scores at Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School

Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School

Faculty implement data-driven instruction and test preparation strategies to help ready students for end-of-program assessments.

Franklin CTC’s Support for Students with IEPs

Franklin County Career & Technology Center

Students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) receive ongoing support to help prepare for the NOCTI assessment.  In addition, all instructors receive professional development that addresses how to meet the needs of all learners.

Special Education Live Binder

Beaver County Career and Technology Center

BCCTC created an online reference site to organize and give access to documents that may be needed by its special education students and their families.

Using Google Classroom to Support Drafting Curriculum

Clearfield County Career and Technology Center 

The drafting instructor utilizes Google Classroom to implement practices that bring together a wide variety of resources and activities into a highly structured and organized curriculum delivery method.

Protocol to Assure Special Population Students Succeed in CTE Programs

Beaver County Career & Technology Center

Administrators and staff implemented a Special Education Communication Protocol that addresses CTE and Local Education Agency responsibilities to ensure that students with IEPs or 504 plans receive the necessary services to succeed.

Components of the plan address policies and practices to ensure:

  • Students are placed in programs in which they are likely to succeed;
  • There is necessary staffing as stated in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to help deliver and support instruction;
  • Ongoing reviews of student needs and supports are conducted; and
  • Student progress is documented.

Effective Academic Support for Special Population Students

Lawrence County Career and Technical Center

Staff use instructional and assessment policies and practices to better serve students who qualify for support services. The roles of the four special education teachers are designed to support inclusion and co-teaching.  Collaboration among special education, general education academic teachers and CTE instructors is a fundamental component of the Academic Support Classroom. In addition, the staff focuses data-driven decision making and the timely identification and notification of student progress.

 Section 2: Individuals from Economically Disadvantaged Families, Including Low-income Youth and Adults

Funding Student Educational Needs through Partnership with Foundation

Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center

Through a collaboration between Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC) and the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains, SCCTC students who are financially eligible can receive scholarships to pay for the necessary expenses of their CTE program and the certification tests.

School Climate Initiative

Schuylkill Technology Center

STC implemented the School Climate Initiative (based on the work of the National School Climate Center). The Initiative is a comprehensive effort to build strong school-to-student and school-to-family relationships so that students and families are connected and engaged in the school experience. The initiative strives to create a supportive learning environment that addresses the social and emotional, civic and academic growth for all students.

Credit Recovery

Northern Westmoreland CTC

NWCTC implemented a credit recovery reimbursement program to support students who might otherwise withdraw from a CTE program due to academic failure and/or an inability to pay for summer school. Through this program, NWCTC reimburses students for up to two summer school courses taken for academic credit recovery.

Health Information Management and Medical Records Technology Community Partnerships

Jules E. Mastbaum Area Vocational Technical School

Multiple partnerships have been developed between Jules E. Mastbaum Area Vocational Technical School, postsecondary institutions, and organizations to provide economically disadvantaged urban youth with experiences that empower them to interact effectively and professionally with adults.

Section 3: Individuals Preparing for Non-traditional Fields

Business Education Partnership Provides Apprenticeship Opportunities for Students

Upper Bucks County Technical School

The Careers in Construction Alliance is a collaborative effort between UBCTS, Associated Builders and Contractors Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter (ABC), 500 regional commercial construction employers, and local high schools to promote careers and employment opportunities within the construction industry and to address a shortage of skilled workers in the trades.  This collaboration is funded by ABC. UBCTS was one of two schools selected as an initial partner in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The partnership helps UBCTS promote post-high school apprenticeship opportunities, informing students of the opportunity to gain paid, on-the-job training immediately after graduation.

Utilizing Recruitment Strategies and Brand Exposure Techniques to Increase Enrollment

Western Montgomery County Career and Technology Center 

WMCTC implemented innovative recruitment and marketing strategies to support student enrollment.

Non-Traditional Student Recruitment Video

Carbon Career and Technical Institute

In 2017, CCTI developed a 13-minute video to support non-traditional student recruiting efforts.

Girls’ Night Out Recruits Non-Traditional Students

Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center

An evening event introduces potential female students in grades seven through 11 to non-traditional careers.

Promising Practice Mercer County Career Center

Mercer County Career Center

Two hundred fifty-four ninth grade girls attended the Girls Engaging Mentors Affair event where they met in small groups with 25 women working in nontraditional STEM careers.

Tri-County Business-Education Partnership Mini-Grant Program

The profile details several different grant programs in Armstrong, Butler, and Indiana counties, such as:

Penn United Technologies, Inc., Butler County

Women in Manufacturing engaged 27 girls in grades nine through 12, providing them with an opportunity to learn about careers that are both traditionally and non-traditionally pursued by women in this industry.

Non-Traditional Student Recruitment Day

Eastern Westmoreland CTC

The CTC hosts an annual day-long event for prospective eighth grade students to build awareness of non-traditional careers and to increase the enrollment of non-traditional students at the school.

Section 4: Single Parents, Including Single Pregnant Women

No profiles are available at this time.


Section 5: Out-of-Workforce Individuals

No profiles are available at this time.


Section 6: English Learners

An Introduction to Working with English Language Learners in CTE

This 30-minute presentation is a professional learning resource for CTE teachers and staff. It provides background information as well as practical tips for teaching English language learners.


Section 7: Homeless Individuals Described in Section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a)

 No profiles are available at this time.


Section 8: Youth Who are in, or Have Aged Out of, the Foster Care System

 No profiles are available at this time.


Section 9: Youth with a Parent Who is a Member of the Armed Forces and is on Active Duty

 No profiles are available at this time.


2020 Best Practice TAP Profiles Webcast Series

The webcasts provide first-hand accounts from administrators, faculty and instructors about the innovative practices described in the TAP profiles. They are designed to offer another set of PA CTE resources to educators who want to know more about the innovative ideas their colleagues are implementing.

List of Best Practice Webcasts by title, school, and direct weblink:

Reports /Guides 2018 – 2020

Pennsylvania’s Guide to Best Practices in Adult Career and Technical Education [June 2020] Pending PDE Approval – coming soon!

Pennsylvania’s Guide to Best Practices in Cooperative Education [June 2019] Pending PDE Approval- coming soon!

Pennsylvania Career & Technical Education: College and Career Pathways for the 21st Century Brochure [September 2019] (20 pages)

Pennsylvania’s Guide to Best Practices in CTE Student Placement [June 2019] (24 pages)

The Pennsylvania Guide for Career and Technology Education’s Role in Apprenticeship [June 2018] (22 pages)

Pennsylvania Career and Technical Education: Dropout Prevention [Revised June 2018](18 pages)

Pennsylvania’s Career and Technical Education Excellence Awards 2015-16 [Updated June 2018] (22 pages)

PA Inspired Leadership (PIL) Program 2018 – 2019 Statewide PIL Blended Course Offerings Blended Learning – Flexibility for School Leaders [June 2018] (19 pages with links to course registration)

REPORT: Pennsylvania Career and Technical Education: College and Career Pathways For the 21st Century [June 2018] (20 pages)

Career and Technical Education in Pennsylvania [June 2018] (4 pages)

Talking Points and Frequently Asked Questions: CTE in Pennsylvania [June 2018] (8 pages)

2018- 2020 CTE Best Practices – CTE Technical Assistance Program Profiles

(Also found on on the PACTA Website at )

NC3T created profiles based on practices nominated by CTDSLs through PACTA for the program years beginning July 2018 through December 2019.

Our list of TAP Profiles by title, school, and direct web link:


Communicating the Value of Career and Technology Centers to the Community [May 2017] (28 pages)

Promising Business Education Practice: Career Preparation for Success at A.W. Beattie Career Center [March 2017] (3 pages)

Promising Business Education Practice: Business and Education Working Together in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties [February 2017] (5 pages)

Promising Business Education Practice: Business Education Partnerships, Lawrence and Mercer Counties [March 2017] (6 pages)

Promising Business Education Practice: Northern Tier Business Education Partnership [February 2017] (2 pages)

Promising Business Education Practice: Tri-County Business-Education Partnership Mini-Grant Program [February 2017] (3 pages)

Promising Business Education Practice: Careers in Construction Alliance at Upper Bucks County Technical School [March 2017] (3 pages)