Vocational Education Column

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has begun an inservice-training program for teachers and administrators that is designed to help improve and expand vocational programs for handicapped students.

Called the Leadership Program in Vocational Special Education, the three-year project is being supported by the Illinois State Board of Education.

This year, 21 educators from high schools, special-education cooperatives, vocational centers, community colleges and rehabilitation facilities in the northeastern section of the state are participating in the 12-month program. In the next two years, a limited number of program candidates will be selected from other parts of the state.

As part of the training, the participants attend two summer institutes, four two-day seminars, and develop a program improvement project for implementation in their respective schools.

L. Allen Phelps, the university's director of career development for special populations, said that the schools have done a good job of educating handicapped children in regular programs with non-handicapped children and that the training of special-needs students has become a priority in most school districts nationwide.

Of equal importance, he said, is the transitional phase when the schools are no longer responsible and handicapped students must either seek employment or continue their education.

The Vermont Department of Education, in cooperation with the state- college system, is developing a program to make it easier for vocational-education students to pursue their technical training after graduating from high school.

The program, which is called "Vermont Springboard Project," will consist of a sequence of courses that will begin in the high schools and continue through college. The program is being developed by personnel from the state agency and the colleges through a $30,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The first step will be to determine the five occupational areas for the project; then the team will develop curricula for each area that will consist of both academic and technical courses, said Gerard Asselin, the department's director of adult and vocational-technical education. The department also plans to implement three to five pilot projects.

The U.S. Education Department last month announced that it is accepting nominations for the fourth annual Secretary's Award for Outstanding Vocational-Education Programs.

The department will be seeking nominations of exemplary adult, secondary, and postsecondary programs from every state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. The final selections will be made later this year by a special review panel.--sgf

Vol. 03, Issue 26

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