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Our Approach










At Palmer Scholars, we recognize our Scholars cannot succeed in the classroom or in the workplace if they do not have their basic needs met. Our “Whole Scholar” model is a holistic approach that provides opportunities for our committed staff, board, and community volunteers to support Scholars in most all areas of life, beyond what is generally encapsulated in college access or workforce development programs. 

At Palmer Scholars, we do not believe a 4-year degree is the only avenue to a successful life. We expose our Scholars to all educational and career pathways and give them the tools to choose the postsecondary program that best fits their strengths, whether that is a 2-year, 4-year, or apprenticeship program. We have two entry points for Scholars receiving our services:

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Palmer Pathways

Serving young adults between 18 and 26, who are neither enrolled in a postsecondary program nor gainfully employed and have an interest in pursuing a career in the trades.

Legacy Program

Serving young adults from the time they are juniors in high school through postsecondary program completion. Scholars may choose to attend any postsecondary program, whether that is an apprenticeship or two-year or four-year degree.


Before Scholars transition to their postsecondary program, we provide more than 100 hours of postsecondary readiness training. Topics include determining “right fit” for postsecondary programs,  career exploration,  the application process,  FAFSA/WASFA,  scholarships, budgeting,  self-advocacy,  and navigating higher education as a student of color.  


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Prior to enrolling in a postsecondary program,  Scholars are carefully matched with a trained  adult  mentor who will provide ongoing support and guidance through program completion.  

Our staff meet 1 on 1 with each Scholar on their campus during the school year, and also bring the entire cohort together for a shared meal and fellowship.

We also host several social events every year for Scholars and their families to reconnect with each other, staff, board members, mentors, and other volunteers. 


We pride ourselves on setting our Scholars up for success once they finish their postsecondary program and are thankful to have formed key partnerships to take this area of our work further. Beginning with the 2020 cohort, all of our Legacy Scholars will participate in an internship and receive training to develop/sharpen their professional skills through the NEXT MOVE Internship Program. Pathways Scholars earn key certifications towards their future career.

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We offer scholarships of up to $2,500 per year, renewable for up to five years, as well as assistance with books and personal expenses. Scholars may attend  the  postsecondary  educational program of their choosing. 

Rising freshmen Scholars  receive a fully stocked backpack with  school supplies, including  folders, notebooks, and a  laptop. Scholars also receive a $150 gift card to shop with their  parents, guardians, or assigned mentor for their dorm room necessities.  

We also provide financial support for certifications, personal protective equipment, and work tools.

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