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Area businesses embrace inclusion

The Arc Gateway’s Employment Services program helps individuals find and maintain jobs in the community. The program’s objective is to find a job that matches a client’s interests, abilities and personal goals. Services include creating resumes, completing applications, meeting with perspective employers, preparing for interviews and all other activities related to finding a job. Once employed, the Employment Specialist works with the individual to arrange transportation, complete training, and monitor the individual until he or she is proficient in all aspects of the job. 
Andrea Wallace has become quite familiar with The Arc Gateway’s clients. As a district manager for McDonald’s in Pensacola, she has hired several people from The Arc Gateway. John O’Conner is her latest hire. 
“She has been a tremendous supporter of our Employment Services Program,” said Jeff Weikert, The Arc Gateway Employment Services Director. 
David Byram has also found gainful employment through The Arc Gateway. He currently works at the Welcome Center at the YMCA.
“David absolutely loves his job and we are so grateful for the support from everyone at the YMCA,” Weikert said. “They treat David very well and have really made him part of the family.”
John and David’s stories are a testament to the recent rise in the hiring of individuals with disabilities. According to the 2017 Disabilities Equality 
Index (DEI), more companies are working to include people with disabilities and are, in fact, actively recruiting from this population.
Of the 110 companies surveyed, 95 percent reported that they have recruitment efforts in place specifically aimed at hiring people with disabilities. That’s an increase of 11 percent since the DEI’s inception in 2014.
This is all good news for people like John and David. Overall, 88 percent of the employers surveyed had a disability-focused resource group or organization, and 86 percent had a senior executive working to champion or sponsor the effort. 
Employment Services is a valuable program that allows adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to stay productive, reach their potential, and live meaningful lives. For more information on Employment Services, please contact Jeffrey Weikert, Director of Employment Services, at (850)293-7100 or

Tell Our Senators: NO Cuts/Caps to Medicaid

Our Medicaid system is in jeopardy. The United States House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would cut Medicaid by over $830 billion, and opened the door to repealing major health care protections including coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. 

The United States Senate is now debating similar legislation. 

We need your help!
Together we must educate our Senators of the importance of Medicaid in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. 

Please email our Senators ASAP. Personal stories are always helpful. Feel free to use the statement below and customize it to tell your story:

My name is __________ and I am a (board member/member/supporter/recipient of services/family member/other) of The Arc Gateway, a non-profit that provides support and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please DO NOT support Medicaid cuts or caps!
A reduction to Medicaid funding would drastically jeopardize home and community based services in our state, thus putting thousands of Floridians with disabilities at risk.


  Email Sen. Bill Nelson              Email Sen. Marco Rubio
Learn more:
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The Arc Gateway is a proud partner agency of the United Way of Escambia County

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3932 N. 10th Ave., Pensacola FL 32503
P: 850-434-2638, F: 850-438-2180