Special Populations Collaborative

Definition of Nontraditional

Nontraditional refers to occupations or fields of work, including careers in computer science, technology, and other emerging high skill occupations, for which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25% of the individuals employed in each such occupation or field of work. Good examples are men preparing to enter into nursing careers, and women preparing to enter into manufacturing careers.

 Promoting nontraditional career opportunities breaks the mold of old expectations and allows all learners to explore a wide range of career options in an atmosphere free from stereotypes about gender and jobs (Kansas State Department of Education, 1999, p. ii). Women are more often the focus of nontraditional programs because the opportunity to earn higher wages exists in occupations that are commonly nontraditional for women. Women who choose nontraditional careers, and who successfully address potential barriers, have greater advancement possibilities, economic self-sufficiency, and career satisfaction. Occupations that are nontraditional for men can provide increased job satisfaction and may yield higher wages as well.

Definition of Limited English Proficient

A Limited English proficient student is enrolled in a pre-collegiate English as a Second Language (ESL) course including English As A Second Language, Survival ESL, or Vocational ESL; or the student is identified by staff as needing English as a Second Language (ESL) services. According to the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs of the U.S. Department of Education, 3.2 million public school learners were identified as limited English proficient (LEP) in 1998, a number that has doubled in less than a decade (Walqui, 2000).

Definition of Economically Disadvantaged

A student considered Economically Disadvantaged student by meeting one of the following criteria:

  1. The student is awarded a Board of Governors Waiver (BOGW)
  2. The student is awarded a Pell Grant reported in MIS data
  3. The student is identified as a WIA participant currently reported in the Job Training Partnership Program (JTPA) reported in MIS data
  4. The student is identified as a participant in the CalWORKs Program reported in MIS data
  5. The student is reported as economically disadvantaged
  6. The student is identified as a recipient of public aid in the California Department of Social Services (DSS) data match for the cohort.

Not unexpectedly, economic circumstances can lead these learners to withdraw from school. Additionally, economically disadvantaged learners often withdraw from high school, and are less likely to be prepared for, and enroll in, postsecondary education (United States Department of Education, 1998).

Definition of Disability

Disability is defined in Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102) as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities, such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

More than 5.8 million children throughout the United States live with some type of disability (WEEA Equity Resource Center, 2000). As a result of these impairments, visible or invisible, many individuals with disabilities need support and services to help them in school, employment, and lifelong learning.

Definition of Single Parent and Displaced Homemaker

A single parent is an individual who is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse, who has a minor child or children for whom the parent has either custody or joint custody, or who is pregnant.

A displaced homemaker is an adult who has been out of the workforce, working to care for the home and children, and often has diminished or hidden marketable skills; has been dependent on public assistance or the income of a relative but is no longer supported by such income; or is a parent whose youngest dependent child will become ineligible to receive assistance under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act, is unemployed or underemployed; and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment (American Vocational Association, 1998, pp. 88-90).

 Completing academic coursework and acquiring technical skills are critical for becoming self-sufficient and independent. Due to child rearing responsibilities and limited financial resources, single parents and displaced homemakers often have difficulty arranging course schedules and meeting the rigors of coursework.