USC Aiken's Pacer LIFE Program promotes National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month by the U.S. Department of Labor and is celebrated among the estimated 1,160,293 adults in South Carolina who have a disability, which is roughly one in three South Carolinians.

In August 2023, USC Aiken launched Pacer LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) and enrolled 16 students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The mission of Pacer LIFE is to provide support in the areas of academics, employment, independent living, and social engagement.

Over the course of the two-year program, students participate in a series of Pacer LIFE courses in addition to classes with their degree-seeking peers; obtain employment on and off campus; live on campus in apartments with the support of a LIFE Resident Assistant; and participate in clubs, organizations, and university sponsored activities. At completion of the program, students earn the PACER Credential (Promoting Academic, Community & Employment Readiness).

USC Aiken joined over 300 other colleges and universities in the United States to offer a college program specifically for students with intellectual disabilities. In total, there are six programs in South Carolina and nine in Georgia. Pacer LIFE is the only program located within the CSRA.

Postsecondary education programs are important for adults with intellectual disabilities. In fact, only about 18% of individuals with intellectual disabilities acquire a job. Further, these individuals earn less than $11K per year.

Throughout the month of October, Pacer LIFE will be highlighting the contributions of their students on USC Aiken's campus to inform the community of the capabilities of their students and the benefits of employing people with disabilities.

Media Contact: Angela Saxon, 

Pacer LIFE Contact: Melissa Martin, Ph.D, Program Director,