PALS gives students with I/DD the opportunity to go to college, to learn new skills, explore careers, prepare for employment and ultimately gain more independence.
What is PALS?
The Arc Gateway Program for Adult Learning and Support (PALS) is a career certification program that focuses on career exploration, increased independence, and preparation to enter the workforce.
PALS is designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to learn new skills and get a job. Most applicants would have received special education services in the K-12 setting through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan and exited their secondary school with a diploma, GED or certificate of completion.
How to Apply
The application process is broken down into three steps:
Step 1: Complete the online application. This provides us with student information, interests, and abilities.
Step 2: A personal interview. This allows the applicant to become more familiar with the program and campus while giving the admissions committee the opportunity to get to know the potential student.
Step 3: Notification of Acceptance. This is the official letter mailed to the student letting them know if they are accepted into the program. Along with the letter is important information about required documentation, if applicable, and start dates.
Is PALS for me?
To ensure that PALS is the best option for each applicant, we require a completed application packet. Individuals wishing to apply to the program should possess a majority of the items listed below. Additional requirements for specific training programs may also be required.
- Desire to obtain community-based employment upon completion of career certification
- Ability to perform hygiene routine independently or has services to provide this support
- Ability to manage medications or has services to provide this support
- Ability to be unsupervised for an extended period of time on a college campus or in the community
- Applicant does not exhibit disruptive behavior
- Ability to communicate with others
- Functional math skills
- Functional reading skills by any mode
- Functional writing skills or a mode to produce written material
- Applicant has had prior vocational experiences that guided him or her to the chosen career path
- Applicant must have a desire to get and keep a job following their career certification training
- Applicant is 18 years or older (or will be 18 at the start of the training session)
- Applicant has exited high school. Applicant can apply while in high school and remain in high school until the start of the training session.
- Applicant has had satisfactory attendance at school and/or in other training programs
- Applicant must be determined eligible based on criteria established under funding opportunity
- Applicant can provide documentation for a diagnosis of a disability
Career Certification Paths
- Administrative Services
- Auto Detailing
- Carpentry Helper
- Cleaning & Maintenance
- Food Service
- Horticulture Studies
- Lawn Care & Maintenance
- Retail Services
While most students will earn their certification in one year, the program does offer one semester certification tracks. Based on each student’s abilities, PALS staff are able to work the individual, PSC, and other agencies to develop and coordinate a plan for additional college courses that lead to other vocational certification and academic degrees.
Benefits to Students
• High Quality Student Experiences
• Professional Development
• Clarified Career Goals
• Workforce Readiness
• Increased Independence
• Career Success
Be a Business Partner!
Interested in becoming a PALS business partner or hosting an intern?
Hiring a person with disabilities can:
- Create better relationships and expand customer base
- Increase retention which reduces hiring and training costs
- Make a positive impact on a person and their families
- Provide possible tax incentives and deductions
- Ensure diversity in the workplace