Special Populations Section

Members of the Special Populations Section of New and Related Services are professionals working with youth or adults, who are:

  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals from economically disadvantaged families
  •  Individuals preparing for non-traditional fields
  • Single parents, including single pregnant women
  • Out-of-workforce individuals
  • English learners
  • 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
    • Is on active duty

As defined by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), professionals working with individuals with the above demographical attributes will provide training, services, and/or extra resources to support successful outcomes in educating and preparing these individuals to be competitively employed in our global workforce.

The Special Populations section of ACTE strives to support our professionals on multiple levels, including:

  • Providing resources and support in aligning programs with new Perkins V legislation
  • Developing professional attitudes and standards in programming for Special Populations
  • Offering assistance to provide, maintain, extend, and expand career and technical programs and services
  • Offering promising practices in developing work-based learning opportunities
  • Acting as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of new ideas and research
  • Advocating for and promoting professional relationships with other agencies, organizations, and institutions that support persons within the Special Populations demographic
  • Collaborating with educators, business representatives, and community stakeholders to create locally responsive, relevant work-based and school-based learning experiences.
  • Providing professional development opportunities through webinars, workshops, and guidance to materials and resources to support the development of post-secondary workforce readiness (PWR) skills that lead to technical skill attainment for students in any chosen occupation with a focus on high wage occupations or high skill in high demand industries

We encourage you to join the Special Populations section of ACTE. As our numbers grow, so will our ability to advocate for resources and opportunities to support our students. Your participation strengthens our voice and involvement with ACTE in supporting new and experienced teachers by increasing funding to use for professional development, resource development and programming at the national and local level.

Co-chair: Emily Sherwood
Co-chair: Marta Osuna

Promising Practices:

California Special Populations
Colorado Special Populations Programming: ACE
Georgia Special Populations
Oklahoma Special Populations
Connecting CTE and Special Populations
YouScience: Aptitude and Interest Inventory
Capstone Portfolio Example – Work Experience
Transition Toolkit

Special Populations Section Leader

Matthew Speno, Ed. D.

Dr. Matthew Speno is a tireless advocate for Career and Technical Education!  Through his role as an independent educational consultant, Matthew calls upon his leadership skills to contribute to the local, state, national, and global conversations about vocational education.  Dr. Speno is passionate about promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for marginalized populations enrolled in k-12 and postsecondary CTE. He has positioned himself to participate in collaborations about the future of CTE; Dr. Speno is comfortable asking powerful questions to facilitate 21st century CTE growth.  Matthew designs and conducts scholarly research on how CTE integrates within the wider educational establishment.  Dr. Speno earned his B.A. in History from the University of Baltimore and his M.S. Ed. and Ed. D. from the University of New England.  Matthew is a current fellow at the Center for Childhood and Youth Studies, which is affiliated with Salem State University and is the Board Vice-Chair for the Midcoast School of Technology located in Rockland, Maine.