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        Page 4                                                                                                 Electronic Edition:

        Beyond the Classroom: ACE Mentor Programs Open the Walls to Career Exploration

        By Jake Boerboon, Chair                                                                                    physics, art, computer skills and other relevant
        ACE Twin Cities Executive Board                                                                            studies, establishing a direct link between cur-
            There’s  a  lot  of  buzz  these  days  about                                                          ricular and career success.
        Career  Training  Education  (CTE)  centers,                                                               Results
        providing  vocational  training  that  allows
        students  to  explore  well-paying  professions                                                                Unlike  CTE  programs,  which  may  be
        while  working  to  address  critical  shortages                                                           positioned  as  a  technical  training  alternative
        in vital trades skills across the country, from                                                            to  post-secondary  educational  opportunities
        auto mechanics to manufacturing to culinary                                                                (PSEO), ACE Mentor drives PSEO attendance.
        arts.  However,  some  industries  just  don’t  f t                                                        About 90% of ACE alums go on to college or
        inside a classroom, even a non-traditional one.                                                            skilled trades training programs. ACE Mentor
        For more than a generation, the ACE Mentor                                                                 Program alums say the experience motivated
        Program has teamed with schools across the   awarded more than $32 million in scholarships   2023/24 school year, 33 mentors worked with   them to attend college, improved their chances
        country to provide hands-on learning experi-  to help its students with post-secondary educa-  62  students  from  7  school  districts  around   of  admittance,  and  helped  them  learn  rel-
        ences exposing high school students to careers   tion and skilled crafts training.  the Twin Cities metro area, culminating in a   evant skills and knowledge leading to greater
        in the (literally) wide-open f elds of Architec-  Building Diversity in the ACE    competition  March  6.  The  Twin  Cities ACE   success in college.
        ture, Construction and Engineering.                                     Chapter has awarded over $168,000 in schol-  “ACE  Mentors  respect  us  so  much  as
                                            Industries                          arships since 2011 to 101 students.   students, making it possible for us to be com-
        A Conduit to Careers                   The program is also an important conduit   In  addition,  former  Twin  Cities  chapter   fortable  pitching  a  risk  design  or  debating
            Now  in  its  30th  year,  the ACE  Mentor   for introducing a more diverse next gen to the   Mentor Leah Roue was inspired to launch the   the right pathway forward,” writes one ACE
        Program  was  created  by  the  integrated  con-  ACE  industries:  Data  indicates  that  nation-  Southern Minnesota chapter in 2019 and today   Mentor student. “. . . As a cautious person, I’ve
        struction  industry  to  attract  students  into   wide, 70% of ACE Mentor Program students   is Board Chair of that chapter.   gained an incredible lesson from ACE: don’t
        pursuing  industry-related  careers.  Today   identify  as  people  of  color.  Over  40%  are   No Cost, High Impact    be afraid to be bold.”
        its  74  aff liate  chapters  nationwide  engage   female. Those numbers exceed industry stan-                 To  learn  more  about  being  part  of  the
        10,000  high  school  students  in  a  free  after   dards by an impressive margin.    The program is made possible by spon-  Twin  Cities  ACE  Mentor  Program  or  the
        school  program  that  meets  weekly  from   * Construction Industry: 33% people of color,   sorship funding and the dedication of volunteer   Southern  Minnesota  ACE  Mentor  chapter,
        January — May during the school year. Over   11% women; Architecture & Engineering: 24%   mentors  providing  engaging  hands-on  proj-  email  or  the
        4,000 volunteer industry professionals mentor   people of color, 26% women (2022 – US Bureau   ects and f eld trips. The program is designed   Southern  Minnesota  ACE  Mentor  Chapter,
        students  and  lead  them  through  a  hands-on   of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey)  to  create  collaborations  not  just  among  the   email
        simulation  of  designing  and  constructing  a   The Twin Cities chapter of ACE is now   student  teams,  but  among  teachers  and  the
        project,  culminating  in  team  competitions   in its 13th year and going strong. During the   industry professionals who serve as mentors.    twin-cities-mn
        and scholarship awards. Since 1994 ACE has                              Activities reinforce learning in math, science,

        Stillwater Students Construct Connections SMS Students Shine at National STEM

                                                           with  hands-on  experi-  Competition
                                                           ence  is  what  it  is  all
                                                           about,” said Howe. “We
                                                           enjoy  partnering  with   Stillwater Area Public
                                                           local  businesses  and   Schools
                                                           organizations  where  we   Sixth   graders
                                                           can  allow  students  to   from  Stillwater  Middle
                                                           have a client-based work   School   (SMS)   pre-
                                                           experience.  Doing  proj-  sented  at  the  Samsung
                                                           ects like this is by far the   Solve  for  Tomorrow
                                                           most  rewarding  part  of   competition  in  Wash-
                                                           our jobs as teachers.”  ington,  D.C. They  were
                                                               While    gaining   one  of  just  10  schools
                                                           valuable hands-on expe-  across the country to be
                                                           rience,  these  students   named national f nalists,
        Stillwater Area Public Schools      added  a  tangible  addition  to  the  Stillwater   earning  them  $50,000
            In  partnership  with  Discover  Stillwater,   community.  The  structure  is  also  designed   in  Samsung  technology
        there is a new photo opportunity for visitors   with  inclusivity  in  mind,  ensuring  that  indi-  and  supplies  for  their
        to downtown thanks to students from the Still-  viduals of all abilities can comfortably access   classroom.   Three students - Maria Donnay, Eleanor
        water Area High School Industrial Technology   the structure by way of a small ramp.  The  competition  challenged  public   Keyser and Arthur Lee - presented the project
        program.                               The  wood  and  rustic  elements  were   school students in grades 6-12 to create posi-  at a live pitch event at the Samsung Solutions
            Highlighting the backdrop of the St. Croix   chosen  to  ref ect  the  community’s  lumber   tive  change  in  their  communities  by  using   Center in Washington, D.C., answering ques-
        River  and  the  Historic  Lift  Bridge,  students   history,  and  allow  the  stunning  backdrop   science,  technology,  engineering,  and  math   tions before a panel of expert judges.
        designed and built a photo frame to capture mem-  remain the focus. The structure not only serves   (STEM) skills to solve pressing local issues.   The  project  was  named  Community
        orable moments. A collaborative effort between   as  a  visually  appealing  photo  spot,  but  also   SMS  students,  led  by  teacher  Corrie   Choice Winner based on a month-long online
        students in the Industrial Technology program,   ensures a secure environment for individuals   Christensen,  created  a  bioluminescent  light   public  vote,  earning  them  an  additional
        teacher  Matt  Howe,  Brad  Pike,  and  Discover   to capture memories in a safe setting.  to help f ght light pollution that threatens bird   $10,000 in prizes.
        Stillwater, the project highlights the talent, cre-                     migration. The downward-facing solar lights
        ativity, and community spirit f ourishing within                        they dubbed Lumen Bloom - are shaped like a
        students at Stillwater Area High School.         f ower, with petals that incorporate robotics to
            “Helping  students  f nd  their  passions                           open and close based on the time of day.
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