Caption: Featured above: Tatiana Amezquita-Borjes, McKenna Mohagen, Jason Walton, Mortenson ACE Extern – Mariella, Laura Wake-Ramos, Ryan Spangberg, Catherine Ellis
By: Catherine Ellis
The ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor Program, offered free of charge, is an after-school initiative dedicated to educating, mentoring, and supporting high school students interested in pursuing careers in the construction industry. ACE affiliates form an expansive network spanning 37 states, Washington D.C., Canada, and Puerto Rico, with over 4,000 mentors annually serving over 10,000 students, shaping future leaders of the industry.
Remarkably, 70% of high school seniors engaged in the ACE program, after exposure to practical insights and industry-specific knowledge, pursue related majors in college or enter skilled trades programs.
Mortenson has been actively involved in the ACE Mentor Program for many years. The program provides support and real-world opportunities for high school students to enhance their resumes, gain an understanding of architecture, construction, and engineering, and explore the broad range of career paths within the construction industry. The ACE program naturally creates professional networking and interactive learning, while concurrently providing opportunities for Mortenson team members to contribute to the communities they so passionately serve.
Every year, professionals plan hands-on activities for students to learn basic skills and knowledge pertinent to the construction and design industry. The skills and knowledge learned at the beginning of the mentorship program are then put to the test in a nationwide design competition. At the recent Washington, D.C. Chapter Scholarship and Awards breakfast event, members from the Washington, D.C. office serving as ACE mentors for students at McKinley Technology High School were celebrated for their successful mentorship efforts in this year’s National Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT) Design Competition. McKinley Technology High School placed second runner up for their design, “The PLACE”; a parking garage repurposed as a multi-functional community space in Seattle, Washington. Over the course of 10 weeks, McKinley’s ACE team learned how to read and analyze a design brief, compromise on project and site selection, brainstorm, create, edit their design, estimate, and schedule their build. You can see their winning presentation boards below (click to enlarge).