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News

For Immediate Release
March 15, 2006

Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support Honored
Wins 2006 “Programs That Work: Preparing Students for Nontraditional Careers” Award

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support recently was awarded the 2006 “Programs That Work: Preparing Students for Nontraditional Careers” Award. This award, created by The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), recognizes local and/or state educational agencies, programs, and/or schools that have improved students’ access to and completion of career and technical education programs that are nontraditional for gender. Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support received the award for the Nontraditional Look (NTO Look) Project, a multi-phase program which impacted postsecondary achievement of the Perkins Nontraditional Core Indicator in 2005.

“This award and recognition will help bring to light the hard work and dedication that Illinois educators put in on a day-to-day basis,” said State Superintendent of Schools, Randy Dunn. “ICSPS has done a fantastic job in helping prepare students for nontraditional careers.”

ICSPS was selected for its program “The Nontraditional Look (NTO Look).” The Nontraditional Look Project utilized Perkins-funded grants from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Community College Board. The multi-phase program was developed by the ICSPS at Illinois State University to encourage secondary and postsecondary partnerships to respond to local needs for recruitment or retention of students preparing for nontraditional careers by providing resources, consultant assistance and financial assistance. Essential elements of the model include partnering across educational/business boundaries, self-study, research into effective practices, long and short-term measurable goal setting, activity design and implementation, and program evaluation. In the implementation phase of each site’s project, participants are provided professional development, technical support, specialized resources, and financial assistance through “The NTO Look” Program.

Grants from Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Community College Board enable ICSPS to support the success of the CTE Special Populations which are the focus of ICSPS’ Statewide assistance. Those Special Populations, as defined by the Perkins Act of 1998, are individuals with disabilities, learners preparing for nontraditional careers, economically disadvantaged, academically disadvantaged, displaced homemakers, single parents, and individuals with limited English proficiency.

“The NTO Look Program, utilizing Perkins-funded grants from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Community College Board, was designed to provide resources for Illinois career and technical educators to recruit and support learners in preparing for careers which are nontraditional with respect to gender,” said Lynn Reha, Co-Director at ICSPS. “ICSPS is pleased that this award will bring recognition to the efforts of Illinois educators and will promote access for all learners to education and training for high-wage, high-skill occupations.”

Learners are encouraged by Career and Technical Education to prepare for occupations which are nontraditional for gender because many of the occupations which are nontraditional for gender are also high-wage, high-skill careers. In order for an occupation to be considered nontraditional for gender, 25% or less of one gender must be employed in that career. NTO Look is an example of a concentrated effort to encourage individuals to examine and be retained in fulfilling careers which they may not have considered previously, and which are nontraditional for gender.

Each of the recognized programs will be honored at ACTE, NASDCTEc, and NAPE conferences as well as during a briefing for the U.S. Congress and media on Capitol Hill. The programs also will be featured in a report that will highlight effective programs and practices for gender equity within career and technical education. The report will serve as a valuable resource for local and state educational agencies wishing to employ similar strategies to successfully prepare students for nontraditional, economically self-sufficient careers.

For more information about the “Programs that Work: Preparing Students for Nontraditional Careers” Project please click this link http://www.acteonline.org/policy/resources/PPTWproject_2006.cfm or contact ACTE, NASDCTEc, NAPE or NWLC.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777