The primary goal of the ACE Mentor Program is to excite high school students about the many careers in the integrated construction industry – architecture, engineering, construction management, and related skilled trades. ACE realizes this goal by involving students in workshops and field trips and engaging them in a realistic process of designing a project and planning its construction. The ACE program extends over 15 to 20 afterschool sessions each lasting 2-3 hours, for an overall total of approximately 40 hours. Several mentors drawn from different design/construction fields, paired with 10-20 students, work as an integrated design team throughout the program.

As an afterschool program, ACE is a form of informal education. It does not mandate a fixed curriculum or formally measure students’ mastery of a prescribed body of knowledge or skills. Rather, mentors follow a general programmatic model and draw upon a tested body of hands-on activities which reflect many aspects of designing and constructing a building – for example, construction document reading, beam design, or cost estimation and bidding.