This new adaptation of NAPE’s Program Improvement Process for Equity™, a proven, multi-year professional development and technical assistance program model, will bring diverse district-based teams together to research, analyze, and determine participation and performance gap root causes for students with disabilities in career pathways.

The U.S. Department of Labor (2017) found that compared to 65.3% of individuals without disabilities, only 17.9% of individuals with disabilities were employed. The U.S. Department of Education (2010) found that the employment rate among youth with disabilities aged 17 to 21 was 57% compared to 66% for their peers without disabilities. Statistical analysis further verifies a marked difference in the employment prospects of youth with disabilities.

PIPEline Objectives

Increase the number of students with disabilities who:

  1. Enroll in CTE career pathways;
  2. Participate in related work-based learning experiences in authentic employment settings;
  3. Earn college and career credentials in CTE career pathways;
  4. Graduate from high school as a CTE career pathway completer;
  5. Continue their education and training beyond high school; and
  6. Enter in-demand employment.

Partners Include

  • National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE),
  • Delaware Department of Education,
  • Delaware Department of Labor,
  • Delaware Health and Social Services,
  • National Technical Assistance Center on Transition, and
  • Tilson and Diaz Solutions, Inc., as well as school system staff, parents, students, and employers.

The teams, consisting of district and school staff, as well as vocational rehabilitation counselors and staff from partnering organizations, will analyze options, align strategies, implement solutions, and evaluate outcomes through statewide peer-to-peer collaboration and evaluation. Five school districts in Delaware are participating in the second year – Capital School District, Laurel School District, Appoquinimink School District, Smyrna School District, and Colonial School District.

PIPEline Model and Timeline

Beginning School Year


District team building +
Baseline data collection

Beginning School Year


Literature review +
Action research + 
Root cause analysis



Plan development  +
Guided implementation +
Evaluation logic model



Best practice and resource sharing +
Peer evaluation + 
Strategy replication



PIPEline to Career Success for Students with Disabilities proposal – a full version of the implementation plan for this project. The PIPEline team is seeking additional partners to scale this program in other states across the nation. 

PIPEline to Career Success for Students with Disabilities one pager – a brief summary of the project that can be used to inform others and encourage them to get involved.

PIPEline to Career Success for Students with Disabilities: Root Causes and Strategies – a comprehensive literature review of root causes or barriers that students with disabilities face to accessing high quality education, including career and technical education, experiences. The review also includes aligned strategies and resources that educators, parents and communities can use to remove these root causes and create equitable learning environments for students with disabilities.

PIPEline to Career Success for Students with Disabilities: Root Causes and Strategies Tables a simplified review of root causes or barriers that students with disabilities face to accessing high quality education, including career and technical education, experiences.

For More Information

Mimi Lufkin, NAPE CEO Emerita and PIPEline Project Director,

Gregory Jackson, NAPE Program Manager,