Dear Colleagues —
Today, the Department’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) joined issued a Dear Colleague Letter (PDF, 590 KB)to make clear to recipients that all students, regardless of their sex or gender, must have equal access to the full range of CTE programs offered. Ensuring equitable access to CTE by eliminating discriminatory practices and taking proactive steps to expand participation of students in fields where one sex is underrepresented can increase overall participation and success in high-growth fields, such as nursing, advanced manufacturing, information technology, computer science, and cybersecurity, for both men and women. This letter serves to support and inform recipients by clarifying the legal obligations to ensure equitable access to CTE programs, and by providing examples of issues that may raise concerns regarding compliance with these obligations.
The Department is committed to ensuring that all students have access to high-quality CTE programs, including classes in fields where their sex is underrepresented. In support of this goal, OCTAE will release technical assistance resources outlining promising practices for expanding recruitment and outreach efforts, building staff capacity and knowledge of equity issues, partnering with families to mitigate perceptions of CTE fields that might impact program participation, and using data to monitor recruitment, enrollment, and persistence trends. Please stay tuned to the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network at http://cte.ed.gov/ for further information and tools you can use.
Thank you for leadership and efforts to advance equal access to CTE programs for students in your State.
Sharon Lee Miller
Director, Division of Academic and Technical Education