Mentors Groom Future Workforce


A workforce development organization dedicated to leading young people to careers in architecture, construction and engineering is anticipating a boost in enrollment for its mentorship program in the coming school year.

The construction industry's fastest-growing high school guidance program, the ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc. (ACE) counsels high school students and inspires them to pursue careers in design and construction.

Now reaching more than 8,000 students annually, ACE is poised to increase their reach even more during the 2015-2016 school year, they said in a recent news release.

What’s Ahead?

Now in its 21st year, ACE announced improvements that will help them reach more students, including a revamped website, a new president and CEO, the addition of new national sponsors and a new affiliate in Utah.

"ACE Mentor is excited about new affiliates that are either starting next month or laying the groundwork to start mentoring students, such as in Salt Lake City UT,” ACE President Jack Kalavritinos said in an email.

“Those new locations—in addition to the increased interest that we are hearing about from students and mentors around the country—makes for an exciting few years ahead," he added.

"In addition, we are establishing relationships with new industry partners, which will strengthen the program and grow the experience for our students in new ways," Kalavritinos explained.

“Based on annual reports just submitted by all 60 ACE affiliates, nearly all have set in motion plans to involve more students and schools in the ACE program. Some will strengthen relationships with the 1,000 participating high schools, and others will reach out to new schools. And some affiliates have created special initiatives to broaden the diversity of the students in their programs,“ he said.

Program Benefits

ACE also recognized the support of its broad network of distinguished design and construction firm leadership to-date.

© / TommL

ACE offers students the opportunity to experience a real-world work environment to learn more about their field in a hands-on manner.

According to its site, ACE believes that giving students the chance to work with professionals in their actual work environments provides a one-of-a-kind practical education.

In the real-world setting, they get to know the day-to-day workings of a business by immersing themselves in it, rather than just reading about it in the classroom.

“The ACE Mentor Program attracts to its 35-40-hour afterschool program students who want to reach beyond textbooks and understand real-world applications of their studies,” stated Thomas Gilbane, Jr., Chairman of the Board, ACE Mentor Program, and Chairman & CEO, Gilbane, Inc.

ACE uses working professionals from the following sectors:

  • Architects
  • Interior Designers
  • Landscape Architects
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Civil Engineers
  • Construction Managers
  • College & University Representatives

Program Strengths

Kalavritinos shared quantitative results from two 2015 ACE studies show that:

  • 63% of ACE seniors were minority students vs. the national average of 44.3%
  • 98.6% of ACE high school seniors graduate from high school vs. the national average of 80%
  • 92% of ACE seniors entered college directly from high school vs. the national average of 66%
  • 70% of college-bound ACE seniors major in architecture, engineering or construction management.

“Survey results reveal and validate the important work ACE is doing through its extensive network of affiliates and mentors across the U.S.,” stated Tony Guzzi, ACE Vice-Chairman of the Board, and President & CEO, EMCOR Group, Inc.

“The data helps define the immense value of this unique program for high school students,” he added, “many of whom might not otherwise pursue a college education.”

© / Steve Debenport

ACE has awarded more than $14 million in scholarships since its beginning.

Since inception, ACE has awarded over $14 million in scholarships to promising participants, according to its website.

“The secret of the ACE Mentor experience is that students and construction and design professionals work as a team to develop a realistic project that often relates to an actual site,” said Peter Davoren, ACE Vice-Chairman of the Board, President & CEO, Turner Construction Company.

“This is possible thanks to the myriad design and construction industry companies supporting ACE,” commented.

ACE has a variety of affiliates across the United States, and each operates on a different registration schedule for students, as well as for mentors and volunteers. To register for the ACE program or to become a mentor, find your local affiliate on the ACE website.

About the ACE Mentor Program

The ACE Mentor Program of America was founded in 1994 by the principals of distinguished design and construction firms under the leadership and guiding force of Dr. Charles H. Thornton.

Its mission is to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry.

ACE’s 63 affiliates in 34 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico organize 2,000 mentors to deliver a 15-session after-school program to almost 8,000 students.

ACE’s sponsors include many of America’s leading companies in the design and construction industry.


Tagged categories: Architects; Construction; Design; Designers; Education; Engineers; North America; Program/Project Management

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