We asked a Portland student recently to pick her favorite part of the new PACE Mentorship Program. Was it framing walls? Wiring a switch? Cutting a metal air vent?

All of it, she said. All of it was my favorite.

PACE gave Portland-area high school students the chance to work this spring with carpenters, electricians and sheet metal workers and learn about well-paying jobs in the trades. Nine students completed their PACE sessions this week, and we’re looking for ways to bring more of these in-depth, hands-on experiences to students next year.

“It really brought home what we can do when education, labor, and businesses get together for the common good of the students in our communities,” said Steven Malany of P&C Construction.

PACE is a new partnership between Portland Public Schools, the Portland Workforce Alliance, the Associated General Contractors, the PNW Carpenters Institute, our friends in the electrical and sheet-metal industries, and others. This week, PPS hosted an open house where families could see what students had built and learn more about apprenticeships and other pathways to the middle class.

“You can tell the mentors really want to help you find a career path,” said PACE student Shade Harrison from St. Helens.

Here are some other quotes from students and industry partners who participated:

  • “I found it helpful because I got hands-on experience and I’m a visual learner. All carpenters, electricians and sheet-metal workers got me engaged in the work they do.”— PACE student Victor Velikoretskikh, Franklin High School.
  • “I chose to participate because I want to learn and have more new experiences.” – PACE student Elena Felix Juan, Jefferson High School.
  •  “Working with the PACE students was very rewarding. … It was exciting for me to share my knowledge with them and to see them take my lessons and apply them to the projects that they built. Some students were using tools for the first time, and some had never really thought about what makes a lighting circuit work. It is always rewarding to see a class get a firm grasp on the task and to really comprehend what is going on.” ––  Bridget Quinn, workforce development coordinator for the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center.

Download a printable flyer about the PACE program here.
See our FB photo gallery about PACE here.

First PACE Mentorship Program connects students to the trades