What a wonderful time to be in CTE! We as educators have the opportunity to prepare students for the future. It can be exciting and scary at the same time. I have the pleasure of working with students with disabilities. This means that the student has qualified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), under Section 504, or ADA. Too many people see the “dis” in disability instead of the word “ability.” People with disabilities are the same as non-disabled people because they have individual abilities, interests, ideas, and needs also.
We get the opportunity to level the playing field and eliminate barriers in CTE for students with disabilities. The most important thing we do for students with disabilities is to prepare them with a skillset that they can take with them into the workforce. At Great Plains Technology Center, Lawton, Oklahoma we have students with disabilities enrolled in every career major offered. We are preparing individuals for success in work and life so that they can provide better opportunities for their families.
We help to prepare students by getting them on a career plan by using OK Career guide www.okcareerguide.com which helps them to explore and guide their future. Students with disabilities are connected with various resources to assist with future employment. Students are able to apply for internship programs, apprenticeships, are connected with transition programs, and Vocational Rehabilitation services.
It is a group effort to bring all parties to the table to benefit students with disabilities. It is rewarding to see students that were lacking confidence and had low self-esteem be determined to receive training and knowledge pertaining to their specified skill-set. So are we preparing students for the road ahead? Yes, yes we are!! So again, it is a wonderful time in CTE to be able to train the future workforce for all students including those students with disabilities.