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P.A.C.E. at NLU Frequently Asked Questions

What is P.A.C.E. at NLU?

P.A.C.E. is a three year, post-secondary certificate program offered at National Louis University. P.A.C.E. at NLU is designed to meet the transitional needs of individuals with multiple intellectual, learning and developmental disabilities through employment preparation, independent living skills coaching, functional academic courses and social development through community based instruction in the vibrant city of Chicago.

What does P.A.C.E. stand for?

P.A.C.E. has a new acronym, Path to Academics, Community and Employment.

What is the primary emphasis of P.A.C.E. at NLU?

Our students receive a full post-secondary education that concentrates on the whole person, with instruction in the areas of functional academics, employment preparation, independent living skills instruction and student life.  P.A.C.E. students are expected to be active and engaged members of their community.  They use public transportation, eat in public restaurants, work in local businesses and participate in community activities with their friends.  P.A.C.E. students live in an inclusive  apartment complex with access to university facilities and student life.

Is P.A.C.E. a University program?

P.A.C.E. is a program at National Louis University, was developed by the National College of Education in 1986 in response to a group special education teachers looking for postsecondary options for their students.  P.A.C.E. instructional staff work with the student’s learning style to teach them skills for independence.  The classroom is utilized to teach concepts to students, and the community is utilized as the students, laboratory for practicing those concepts.  In addition to a Certificate of Completion, P.A.C.E. students graduate with approximately 700 hours of on-the job training.

Who is the typical P.A.C.E. student?

P.A.C.E. students are typically between the age of 18 and 28 and have an identified intellectual, learning or developmental disability.  Frequently, students accepted into P.A.C.E. would have a high probability of difficulty successfully navigating in a standard college curriculum, even with the provision of various support services.  Eligible candidates’ qualities include the ability, willingness and emotional stability to participate in and to adjust to all aspects of the program. They have a desire to live independently of their family, and has a family who supports the goals and philosophy of P.A.C.E. at NLU.

What is the admission process?

Applications and supporting materials are accepted throughout the academic year.  The application and interview process evaluates the match between an applicant’s academic standing, life skills, and job preparation with the goals of the program. P.A.C.E. highly encourages all applicants and their families to participate a program tour before beginning the admissions process.  Following receipt and review of all required admissions materials, selected candidates and their families will be invited for an interview and/or a shadow day.  Decisions for the following school year are made on a rolling basis, however all admissions materials must be submitted by May 1st to be considered for the following school year.

How much support is provided?

At P.A.C.E., the safety of the students is one of the highest priorities.  Students must sign-in and sign-out of 1237 and are expected to follow curfews and behavior guidelines.  Staff support is available while students are expected to be at 1237, in the mornings, evenings, weekends and in case of overnight emergencies, however P.A.C.E. students need to be successful living in a residential setting without constant adult supervision.   

What role do internships play in the program?

P.A.C.E. students complete three internships to accumulate over 700 hours of actual work experience.  They prepare for employment in fields such as adult care, early childhood, food service, general office, supply and distribution, housekeeping, animal care, retail, health care and hospitality.  Employment skill development includes classroom instruction, workshops/trainings, as well as on-the-job coaching from supervisors and job coaches.  All aspects of instruction are designed to help P.A.C.E. students find employment interests and skills to succeed in the world of work.  The program operates from a base of more than 50 veteran career partners and continually recruits new contacts.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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