Berks Career and Technology Center: Using Skill Alignment Charts to Support Special Populations Students

Posted on Categories Special Populations

At a Glance

The use of Skill Alignment Charts is increasing student engagement and success at Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Skill Alignment Charts are designed to help students and parents understand the educational and physical expectations and/or recommendations for BCTC programs prior to a student’s enrollment.


Integrating Skills Alignment Charts is an effective strategy for ensuring that students with IEPs select the correct career and technical education (CTE) program. Skills Alignment Charts can help align students’ interests and abilities with appropriate CTE pathways, providing a clear roadmap for their educational and career goals. Active collaboration between CTC staff and the student’s IEP team ensures that the career and technical training aligns with the student’s educational goals and accommodations.

Prior to the development of Skill Alignment Charts, educators and administrators at Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) recognized a pattern of students entering programs with unclear expectations. Because sending schools frequently lack the time to devote to setting clear student expectations prior to beginning a CTE program, a number of students would enroll in programs only to find the coursework was at odds with their expectations. 

For example, Precision Machining requires more computational math than some students would expect. It can also require standing behind a machine for long periods of time. Students would struggle with some of the math, such as making precise measurements or with the physical demands of being on their feet, and would decide to change to other programs. The Skill Alignment Chart was meant to give students—specifically students with documented disabilities—a better overall understanding of what to expect so they could make a more informed decision before starting a program.

Each Skill Alignment Chart outlines program safety and physical considerations, industry certifications, reading-level requirements, math skills needed, lecture time, homework, tasks assigned per week on average, tests, study skills, and other skills required for success. All schools have access to the Skill Alignment Charts on the BCTC website for easy access by students. The charts also help parents understand what would be required of their students if they enrolled in a particular program. 

BCTC’s four Educational Facilitators take Skill Alignment Charts to the 16 sending schools for intake meetings, clarifying classroom expectations and allowing students to enter with a deeper understanding of the program expectations, or in some cases, change their minds and enroll in a different course of study more closely aligned with their talents and interests (ie, more hands-on, less lecture time, etc.) 

Transition coordinators also come in on a monthly basis to speak with students and instructors so they have a true sense of what is required in each of the programs and are better prepared to speak about the Skill Alignment Chart and what it looks like in action. Since implementing the Skill Alignment Chart, program completion rates have increased.


Including a Skill Alignment Chart within the nondiscriminatory admissions and documented placement process for students with disabilities assists the IEP team in predicting a student’s success in a given program and determining the required support necessary for success. This has increased student achievement and completion of programs. 

Implementing Skills Attainment Charts within Career and Technology Centers provides a structured and personalized approach to career planning for students with IEPs. By identifying and mapping out each student’s skills and interests, these charts help ensure that students select CTE programs that are well-suited to their individual capabilities and career aspirations. This strategic approach not only enhances student engagement and success but also supports a smoother transition from school to career, aligning educational outcomes with real-world opportunities.


Kyle Follweiler, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment