Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) has provided a $20,000 donation to the University of South Carolina (USC) Aiken Pacer LIFE Program and will host a student worker.
The donation will assist Pacer LIFE, a two-year program designed to serve students with intellectual disabilities (IDs). The PACER Credential is awarded to students who have completed the program. The credential focuses on Promoting Academic, Community, and Employment Readiness (PACER).
According to SRMC President and Program Manager Dave Olson, hosting a student for a semester is a way for SRMC to uphold its commitment to both education outreach and workforce development.
"Savannah River Mission Completion has an opportunity to make a difference in a student's life that otherwise might not have a chance to obtain work experience that provides skills and access for gainful employment," Olson said. "Pacer LIFE is an excellent program for students with disabilities that can learn and SRMC wants to offer them a chance at a better quality of life."
USC Aiken Program Director Dr. Melissa Martin heads the program and said research shows that life beyond high school for individuals with intellectual disabilities is dismal.
"Only 18% of adults with ID are competitively employed, and their average yearly income is below the poverty line at $10,279," Martin said. "Thanks to partners like SRMC that help offset the cost of this program, students with ID can go to college, live independently, and maintain meaningful employment."