Welcome to Special Populations

To help students recognize all career opportunities, unrestricted by gender, social or cultural expectations. We strive to improve the achievement of students and special populations in secondary programs that lead to high skill, high-wage, and high-demand careers.  A nontraditional career is any occupation in which women or men comprise 25 percent or less of its total employment.

CTE Supporting Programs Snapshot Flyer


Nontraditional Program Goals:

  • Invite students to become aware of the vast array of career opportunities through career fairs, internships, speakers, field studies, and job shadows related to career opportunities offered in the school by Work-Based Learning coordinators.
  • Develop opportunities and resources for students to learn about themselves and what abilities and aptitudes they have for career opportunities.
  • Invite individuals who work in nontraditional careers to participate in school presentations, so they are visible in the school to encourage students’ interest in nontraditional careers.
  • Show students the financial opportunities in high-skill and high-demand careers.
  • Help students understand the importance of achieving job satisfaction in a career for which they have interest and ability.

Program Delivery Components

Nontraditional experiences are integrated in all levels of education. Career awareness, exploration, orientation, and preparation activities are coordinated with school-based learning activities.

In grades K-6, students are introduced to careers through career days (such as tool days, construction days, and vehicle days), workplace visits, job shadowing, and guest speakers.

In grade 7, students explore career options in the CTE Introduction class. In grade 8, students also explore career options through career fairs, field studies, job shadowing, and guest speakers.

In grades 9-10, students become oriented with a specific career(s) through career fairs, job shadowing, and guest speakers.

In grades 11-12, students may prepare for a career through internships and apprenticeships. The Work-Based Learning course is available to students to further these experiences.

Program Results/Funding

Federal Perkins IV funding requires states to address the needs of special populations, non-discrimination, and nontraditional preparation as a part of the State Plan.

Our vision is to help students become aware of all career opportunities, including nontraditional career opportunities, while encouraging them to recognize their personal skills and abilities. With this recognition, students may look “outside the box” and consider the full range of career options available to them, unconstrained by traditional gender role stereotyping. Applying the skills and recognizing abilities and interests gained in the secondary school programs, students may achieve a high level of job satisfaction as they pursue postsecondary education and job opportunities.

Improvement Strategies

All students need to be encouraged and supported. Whether the student is male or female, there will be many opportunities to promote student success in nontraditional careers.

Awareness...Expanding Career Possibilities

Attitudes about which jobs are appropriate for women, and which jobs are appropriate for men are the result of tradition and socialization. The vast majority of job requirements are unrelated to gender.

Primary Barriers for Men:

  • Unsupportive Attitudes
  • Workplace Discrimination
  • Lack of Proper Training

Primary Barriers for Women:

  • Child Care
  • Transportation
  • Lack of Career Information
  • Sexual Harassment

Nontraditional Careers: Awareness Strategies

Nontraditional Careers: Teacher Self Assessment

Recruitment...Challenging Students to be Different

A critical step in the recruitment of women and men into nontraditional careers is awareness about gender equity issues. Gender equity means ensuring fair treatment to both genders and the elimination of career stereotypes and bias. This requires a thorough examination of recruitment and instructional materials and an environment this is bias free. It is important to remember that all learners have the ability to perform well in all academic and technical areas required in nontraditional work.

Root Causes for Nontraditional Participation (4S1 and 4P1)
Theories and evidence regarding participation in nontraditional training programs.

Retention...Meeting Student Needs

Nontraditional Careers: Retention Strategies

CTE Pathways

The High School to College and Career Pathways initiative helps match education and workplace needs. Through partnerships among post-secondary institutions, school districts, business, and industry, Pathways identify and group courses within CTE areas of study that offer students depth of knowledge and skill, linked with specific postsecondary programs culminating in degrees, certificates, and licenses.

CTE Career Pathways
Utah State Board of Education (USBE)

Quality Indicators

Nontraditional fields refers to those occupations or fields of work, including careers in computer science, technology and other current and emerging high skill occupation for which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in that occupation. The intent of Perkins is to help more women achieve economic security by creating opportunities and encouraging them to pursue more high skill, high wage and high demand occupations.

Secondary Performance Indicators

4S1: Nontraditional Participation
Percent of students enrolled in nontraditional programs.

4S2: Nontraditional Completion
Percent of students completing at least 3 courses in nontraditional programs.

ATC Performance Indicators

4A1: Nontraditional Participation
Percent of adult students enrolled in nontraditional programs.

4A2: Nontraditional Completion
Percent of adult students who complete nontraditional programs.

College/University Performance Indicators

4P1: Nontraditional Participation
Percent of students enrolled in programs that are nontraditional for their gender.

4P2: Nontraditional Completion
Percent of nontraditional students completing programs that are nontraditional for their gender.


Career Exploration

A web-based career information system that will help students learn more about how his or her personal characteristics can be put to good use in a variety of occupations.

Gender Equity

American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Seeks to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research.

Gender, Diversities and Technology Institute
Gender, Diversities and Technology Institute is a learning exchange, an incubator for new ideas and approaches, and a generator of new policy.

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
A consortium of state and local agencies, corporations, and national organizations committed to the advancement of equity and diversity in classrooms and workplaces.

Resources for Women

Center for Women in Technology (CWIT)
Encourages women and girls to study computer science and become the high-tech professionals.

Her Own Words
The Her Own Words® series on women's history and careers tell the stories of many women, ranging from pioneer women to women who are working right now in nontraditional careers.

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
Knowing that women represented only a small fraction of the construction industry, the founders organized NAWIC to create a support network.

National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS)
Provides the tools to successfully integrate women into male-dominated careers such as technology and law enforcement

Role Model Projects for Girls
Read about role models, real women, currently working in a sample of careers.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
A not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering, and to be recognized for their life-changing contributions as engineers and leaders.

United States Department of Labor Women's Bureau
The Women's Bureau promotes 21st Century solutions to improve the status of working women and their families. Better jobs! Better earnings! Better living!

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)
Works nationally to build pathways to economic independence for America's families, women, and girls.

Women's Technician Club
A national online home for women technicians to connect with one another.

Resources for Men

Advancing Men in Nursing (AAMN)
Provides a framework for nurses as a group to meet, discuss, and influence factors which affect men as nurses.

Association for Early Learning Leaders
Is committed to excel­lence in the field of early care and education by promoting leadership development and enhancing program quality.

Discover Nursing
There’s never been a better time to be a nurse.  See nursing statistics, view benefits and salaries, and search for programs.

Contact Us

Ephraim Zamora
Specialist, Nontraditional Careers
Phone: (801) 538-7854 | E-mail