Access to Career and Technical Education for Students with a Disability (ACTE-SPED) aid is designed for students who require curriculum modifications and special equipment to participate in state-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) work-based learning (WBL) programs. ACTE-SPED is funded similar to all other special education programs. A student selected for this program must meet the state definition of a child with a disability.

Access to CTE services enables students with disabilities to participate in state-approved CTE WBL programs based on their career interests, abilities and annual goals as outlined in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). CTE services and supports must be provided by licensed staff who meet Minnesota Professional Educator License and Standards Board requirements. Needed curriculum modifications and other supplemental services are documented within the student’s IEP.

Before a school district is eligible to apply for pre-approval of expenses using ACTE-SPED aid, districts must establish an approved program.

  • Step 1: The district establishes a state-approved CTE WBL Program (program codes 000755 and 000750) by submitting a proposal on the CTE Program Approval page. See link below to Table C for licensure requirements for the teacher, as well as A Reference Guide to Minnesota Work-Based Learning Programs.
  • Step 2: As part of the IEP process, student’s abilities, needs and preferences are identified through the age-appropriate transition assessment process, as well as their identified measurable post-school goals. Instruction activities, accommodations and supports are then identified to meet those goals. Activities can include experiential learning, work-based learning and participation in student leadership organizations. Courses of study can include CTE classes. For transition services, pre-employment activities can be identified in collaboration with the student’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to address the student’s need to prepare for work.
  • Step 3: Subsequent to the district receiving the five-year renewable CTE WBL Program approval, a district completes a separate pre-approval form for expenses under ACTE-SPED aid, which can be used for special equipment and curriculum modifications and training that a student may need to access CTE WBL in a state-approved program. For guidance on the use of ACTE-SPED Aid for districts, see Planning for Students with Disabilities Successful Transition to Competitive Integrated Employment Program and Funding Clarification Document below.

The pre-approval for ACTE-SPED aid forms must be submitted with a copy of the contract for services or estimate for special equipment purchase. The district’s WLB coordinator and special education director must also submit a signed assurances document (Using Work-Based Learning in a State-Approved Career Technical Education Program to Meet the Needs of Students with a Disability), stating the district’s WBL opportunities are in CTE career pathways and that programs are in compliance with federal regulations for competitive integrated employment [such as Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Minnesota Olmstead Plan].  Coordinators should be aware of best practices and districts should understand appropriate uses of ACTE-SPED aid.

A signed pre-approval should be received prior to the date when contracted services begin or special equipment is purchased. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) cannot guarantee reimbursement of expenses that are not pre-approved.

Open the ADM/LEP (EDRS) data submission page to enter ACTE-SPED expenses

System Notes: Automatic errors are generated for these expenses as school districts enter them into the web access system. The district then alerts MDE Special Education/Finance personnel of the errors, which are subsequently cleared by MDE staff when final approval forms have been submitted and verified.

Other Notes: ACTE-SPED aid cannot be used to pay student wages, nor can it be used to contract for placements in work for sub-minimum wage, is not competitive, and/or is in a non-integrated setting. In addition, the contracted service provider cannot also be the employer and cannot be the issuer of the student’s paycheck. Sub-minimum wage positions must be coordinated with Vocational Rehabilitation, described in the WIOA Process for Students with Disabilities Flowchart

For more information, contact MDE's work-based learning coordinator.