PALS program expands access for all

  • October 23, 2015
  • /   Shannon Nickinson
  • /   education

Cameron Northrup speaks about The Arc Gateway Program for Adult Learning Support at Pensacola State College. Shannon Nickinson/PensacolaToday.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have extra time to submit applications for The Arc Gateway Program for Adult Learning and Support (PALS) class to start in January 2016 at Pensacola State College.

The extended deadline to apply is Oct. 30. PALS is sponsored by the Arc Gateway and the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

The PALS program will allow up to 40 young adults a year to enroll at PSC, take courses in academic, vocational and life skills with the aim of making them more marketable as employees and better able to lead independent lives.

It was rolled out in January at a news conference with Florida State Sen. Don Gaetz, who pledged to support the program as long as he was in office.

At that news conference, Gaetz called PALS, “a model for the state in proving we can go beyond K-12 education and traditional vocational training to post-secondary education for those with unique abilities.”

"We are committed to the success of our students and it is our vision to be the leader in providing educational, vocational and social support for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities," says Melissa Rogers, CEO of The Arc Gateway, in a news release.  "PALS makes this possible for all people who, otherwise, may face obstacles in pursuing this opportunity.”

Rogers and PALS student Cameron Northrup visited The Daily Brew on BlabTV earlier this year to talk about the program.

Applications are available online at or by calling (850) 484-1185.