Founded in 1994, the ACE Mentor Program of America is a free, award-winning, afterschool program designed to attract high school students into pursuing careers in the Architecture, Construction and Engineering industry, including skilled trades.
- Over 10,000 students participate annually, drawn from approximately 1,450 high schools.
- The majority of ACE students (69%) are minority, and over 40% are female.
- One-quarter of ACE seniors entering college are first generation students.
- More than 4,100 volunteer industry professionals mentor student teams through a 35-hour-long simulation of designing and constructing a project.
- Approximately $2.5 million in scholarships are awarded annually to high school seniors and alumni studying to pursue industry-related careers.
- ACE also offers students summer camp and internship opportunities.
As a community connection initiative through ACE mentor program, Tonn and Blank helped introduce students to the industry through a mock design project as a construction management mentor. Our Indianapolis team volunteered to mentor for the ACE Program at Ben Davis High School. This year’s project was a Multi-Generational Sports Complex envisioned as a place for the local community to gather, be active, be nourished and be entertained while benefiting its surrounding community by generating foot traffic for local businesses and creating incubator opportunities for those starting new ones. It included enclosed spaces like a restaurant, micro-retail, and restrooms, as well as open spaces such as a basketball court, shuffleboard courts, a splash pad, and a variety of outdoor games (bag toss) and seating options.
Students had to account for scope details, choosing their own project locations and meet program requirements. Each team was set up to emulate an actual design team, with students guided through a mock design project by their architect, engineer, construction management, and tradesperson mentors.
Mentors assisted the students as they worked towards a final project, introducing them to the careers, industry vocabulary, and various roles companies play in the construction industry.
In May, all of the affiliate’s teams gathered for a final presentation night. They presented their designs to other teams, their families, teachers, prospective mentors, and program leaders, so all can share in the students’ accomplishments.
“The ACE Mentor Program is extremely rewarding. Most of the students are looking to start their careers in construction, so this is a great opportunity to connect with the community to show them what it’s really like.”, stated David Roepnack, Senior Project Manager for Tonn and Blank Construction.
Tonn and Blank is proud to announce that 3 of the students received scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $4,000, and even an all-expense paid trip to Colorado this summer. Our team is already looking forward to this program next year!