If you work in construction or design, you’re fully aware of the demand for talent in the Portland metro region. But if you’re a high school student, you may not know about the workforce needs (or great career opportunities) connected to the region’s projected growth.

The ACE Mentor Program is changing that reality for students, as new survey data and the program’s 10-year track record show. Every year, volunteer mentors help nearly 150 students develop informed career aspirations in design, engineering and construction. And every year, students share how much the mentorship experience means to them.

ACE-first-meeting-mentor-student-team-2016“It has opened my eyes,” one student explained. Another said, “ACE helped me have a better idea of what I want to do in life.”

Thanks to strong business community support, the ACE Mentor Program of Oregon awarded a record $72,000 in college scholarships to 16 graduating seniors this spring. ACE also had a tremendous benefit to the nearly 150 students who participated this year:

  • 95% said they gained knowledge and skills not taught in their high school.
  • 80% said they learned how to work better with people whose backgrounds and ideas are different from their own.
  • 75% felt that ACE made them more motivated to go to college or enter a skilled trades training program.


ACE accepted 146 students from 41 high schools in the Portland metro area in 2016. ACE leaders did significant outreach at lower-income, diverse campuses, reflecting the organization’s desire to be accessible to all students. About 30% of ACE students came from higher-poverty schools, 40% were girls and half were students of color.

“Being a first-generation college student (had) caused me to be fearful of college,” says Roosevelt High School graduate Andy Hua, one of this year’s scholarship winners. Being in ACE allowed him to get great advice from real engineers, develop his collaboration skills and head to college with confidence, he says.


ACE’s 4th annual ACE Golf Tournament on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, will help fund college scholarships and program needs for ACE students in 2017. Visit the tournament website or ACE’s general website to learn more.

The ACE Mentor Program contracts with the nonprofit Portland Workforce Alliance for part-time staffing. PWA and ACE share similar missions to create career-learning experiences as part of a strategy to support Oregon’s future workforce and help students develop informed, inspired career aspirations.

ACE Mentor Program reflects workforce needs, earns high marks from students
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