ACE stands for Architecture, Construction and Engineering – the three cornerstones of the construction industry. It is the fastest-growing mentoring program in America that introduces students to the vast amount of opportunity there is if you want to explore this industry.
ACE is an after-school program for high school students who are interested in learning about career opportunities in Architecture, Construction, Engineering, and related construction professions.
Your mentors will be successful designers, engineers and contractors, from leading design and construction firms, who volunteer their time and energy. They can offer you a taste of what it is like to work in these fields and help you decide what career is right for you.
The ACE Mentor Program is made up of companies in the design and construction industry who want to provide career direction to students interested in learning more about these fields. Many of these companies are well known in the design and construction industry, and some have offices throughout the country or even international offices. It also includes leading schools and universities with programs geared especially towards students who want to pursue design careers.
ACE has also partnered with many apprentice and training programs for students who are interested in the skilled crafts.
The companies join into teams and "adopt" a group of students for the duration of a school year. The teams are organized like a real life design/construction project. For example, a team might include a corporate "owner", an architectural firm, a construction company, and an engineering firm. In addition, each team includes a local college or university that offers an architecture, engineering, or related program.
Some ACE affiliates may offer additional disciplines that include skilled crafts.
Career guidance: You will be exposed to many disciplines and specialties of engineering, architecture, and design, which will help you decide which one is right for you. Your mentors have already made the decisions that you are facing, and they can help you with your decisions.
Challenges: Working in a team environment, and guided by your mentors, you will be challenged to develop solutions to design problems and then to present your solutions to other students at the end-of-year event.
Facilitates transition to workplace: Becoming familiar with the office environment of your mentors will help prepare you for working in that type of setting.
Enhances skills: Working on your project will help you develop important skills such as problem solving, drawing, writing, and presentation. Depending on your team, you may also be exposed to electronic drafting software, and other design and analysis software used in the industry.
Possible summer/part-time jobs: Firms are always looking for motivated interns. Your mentors will be able to help you apply for a position.
Possible partial scholarships: Some affiliates offer partial college scholarships to graduates of the ACE program who pursue design careers.
Together with your mentors, your team will develop a program for the year that is tailored to your interests.
Introductory sessions might include hands-on activities, office tours, videos, and field trips to expose you to the various disciplines within the industry.
Also, you will be challenged with an actual design project. The project could be redesigning a residence, a new high school, or planning to bring the Olympics to a major city! Your mentors will guide you along each stage of the project. At the end of the year, you and your teammates will put on a presentation of your work, which your parents and teachers will be invited to attend.
Most affiliates will also host a "College Night." All teams in your area attend this event. Its purpose is to provide you with information that will help you chose the right college and help you find financing.
The End-of-Year Presentations event is the culmination of the ACE season. All teams attend this event, and students can invite a family member, a friend, or a teacher.
Each team presents their project to the other teams. The students explain the problem that they were trying to solve, how they approached it, and they present their solution(s). Students show their models, drawings, electronic graphics, or any other material that they developed.
This event also serves as a graduation ceremony, and special awards are given.
Meetings are usually held once every 2 weeks for a total of 15 meetings, after school, from about 4pm to 6pm. Each team tries to meet on a set day of the week, so make sure that it does not conflict with other activities in your schedule.
You will usually meet at the offices of your mentors. The meeting place will rotate among the firms that are on your team, so that you get the chance to see a variety of workplaces. Your mentors will give you directions to all the meetings.
When it is not possible to meet at the mentors' offices, the team will pick a conveniently located meeting place, possibly at the school or a community center.
ACE is open to high school freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Depending on the number of available openings in the local chapter, juniors and seniors may be given preference.
You will get the most out of ACE if you attend each session and field trip, and if you spend additional time developing your team's project.
Occasional absences are to be expected. If for some reason you can't make it to a meeting, you should let your mentors know.
If, after a few sessions, you find that ACE is not for you, you should tell your mentors.
The program is free. What we ask is that you give us your invaluable time. Your commitment to the program will lead to a great career in the construction industry the second largest industry in the country.