New York City 1994 After several years of experimenting with various mentoring models, ACE was formally launched when 17 firms banded together into 3 teams, each organized like a typical design and construction team, and “adopted” about 90 students from local high schools.

Volunteers from each of the firms, serving as mentors, worked directly with the students to introduce them to the broad range of people and projects within the construction industry.

After proving success in NYC, ACE expanded to New Jersey in 1998 and Connecticut the following year. By the turn of the century, ACE had 7 affiliates in 6 states, serving nearly 1,000 students each year.


As the number of affiliates continued to grow, the need to coordinate resources and share best practices among affiliate leaders led to the formation of the ACE Mentor Program of America, ACE’s national office. In 2002, ACE was established a national non-profit under Section 501(c)3 in the District of Columbia.

The national office and its board of directors helped to accelerate ACE’s growth throughout the country, with 65 affiliate programs in operation by 2013, serving over 6,000 students per year. By 2020, ACE had 75 affiliates serving over 10,000 students per year.

It is estimated that ACE has served nearly 100,000 students since the program was first offered to 90 NYC students in 1994.


Scholarships continue to be awarded on an annual basis to ACE graduates who go on to college to study for a career in the design and construction industry.

The ACE Mentor Program has a presence in more than two hundred cities in America — from New York to Los Angeles, Seattle to Miami, Chicago to Dallas — and is still growing.

Thanks to the dedication of ACE’s mentors and staff, and the support of local schools, thousands of students, many who are underrepresented in the industry, have had an opportunity to explore the building design and construction industry.