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The Vocational Education Act of 1984, often referred to as the Carl D. Perkins Act or the Perkins Act, authorizes federal funds to support vocational education programs. One of the goals for the Perkins Act is to improve the access of either those who have been underserved in the past or those who have greater-than-average educational needs. Under the act, "special populations" include those who have a disability, are disadvantaged, or have limited English proficiency. This law is particularly important, because it requires that vocational education be provided for students with disabilities. The regulations that cover this law are called C.F.R. Title 34; Parts 400-499 (NICHCY, 1997).
The law states that individuals who are members of special populations (including individuals with disabilities) must be provided with equal access to recruitment, enrollment, and placement activities in vocational education. In addition, these individuals must be provided with equal access to the full range of vocational education programs available to others, including occupationally specific courses of study, cooperative education, apprenticeship programs, and, to the extent practical, comprehensive guidance and counseling services. Under the law, vocational educational planning should be coordinated among public agencies, including vocational education, special education, and the state vocational rehabilitation agencies. The provision of vocational education to youth with disabilities should be monitored to ensure that such education is consistent with objectives stated in the student's IEP (NICHCY, 1997).