Boston – ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston recently launched its 2020-2021 virtual program. The free after-school program is run by local design and construction professionals with the goal of encouraging high school students to pursue careers in the architecture, construction and engineering industries.
The program provides an opportunity for high school students, grades 9-12, to learn about design and construction from mentors who currently work in those fields.
Some activities will include virtual tours of construction sites, engineering labs, and professional offices to give students a sense of what real-life work environments are like in respective industries of architecture, construction and engineering.
Diversity and inclusion has remained a top priority for the program over the years. Seventeen percent of ACE college seniors in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering are African American compared to only 6% nationally. Similarly, only 12% of first-year college students studying in those fields nationally are Hispanic compared to 25% of students in the ACE program.
The program will meet once a week online in the fall through early spring, and students will be provided with take-home kits to work on assignments remotely. For this year’s major project, students will design and create plans for working within certain budgets in addition to specific environmental and project requirements.
Students will reap the benefits of working with mentors who are full-time architects, engineers and project managers for companies such as Turner Construction Company, Gilbane Building Company, Boylston Properties, and Perkins + Will, learning valuable skills and practices of working at a construction site.
The virtual program is adding Dyer Brown and Related Beal to the strong list of participating firms and will also be adding a new host site at Roxbury Community College. Also, in an effort to continue growing inclusion efforts, the ACE team is collaborating with the Boston chapter of the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA) for the upcoming year.