The ACES program provide disadvantaged youth with pathway to STEAM careers
The ACES (Architecture, Construction, Engineering Students) Engineering Pathway Program is a unique initiative of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a Washington, DC–based non–profit network of organizations working together to advance a sustainable environment while creating economic opportunities for all.
ACES helps expose economically disadvantaged Los Angeles–area students in grades 9 through 12 to careers in architecture, engineering, and construction by facilitating co–enrollment in community college STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics)–related courses.
Earning College Credits
The program’s success is bolstered by the participation of companies such as GoEngineer, which helps ACES students learn the SolidWorks technology that prepares them for paid internships working alongside industry professionals throughout Southern California.
The ACES program helps to address the inequity in the United States in STEM–related careers. Efforts to increase STEM equity in schools across the United States have not been successful as gender and racial gaps continue to widen in STEM fields.
According to Pew Research Center, women “remain strongly underrepresented in some STEM job clusters, notably computer jobs and engineering” and “Black and Hispanic workers continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce.”
ACES is currently facilitating the co–enrollment of 340 LA–area students from diverse backgrounds from six high schools, including 134 young women, or 40%, into college courses including:
- Introduction to Robotics
- Introduction to Engineering Design
- Engineering Graphics with Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerance.
These courses enable students to earn college credits transferable to the University of California and California State University systems, giving them a head start toward a college degree in a STEAM-related field of study.
Veronica Soto, the Emerald Cities Los Angeles program director who oversees ECC’s involvement in the ACES program, says “Through strong student engagement and support, as well as industry partnerships and deliberate inclusion of women in the design and construction sectors, we are busting the gender gap in STEAM education.”
SOLIDWORKS World 2018 Student Day
GoEngineer supports SOLIDWORKS software for East Los Angeles College, which has provided instruction and software for the ACES Program since 2017.
GoEngineer also invited ACES students to the SOLIDWORKS World 2018 Student Day. The activities for the students included:
- Conversations with the GoEngineer technical and executive team members over breakfast and lunch
- Attending informative sessions and guest speaker panels helpful to students gearing up for their summer internships
- Touring the SOLIDWORKS Partner Pavilion
Legacy STEAM High School
“GoEngineer and companies like it help ACES support young people who might not otherwise begin—let alone find—their way toward solid, family-supporting careers in the STEAM disciplines,” says Carla Barrera-Ortiz, Principal at Legacy STEAM High School, which hosts the ACES program on its campus.
Team members at GoEngineer including Owner Ken Coburn and President/CEO Brad Hansen were available to hang out with the students over breakfast and lunch to provide insights about STEM careers and the industry.
“GoEngineer has a long legacy of supporting women and others who are at a disadvantage find success in STEAM careers,” said GoEngineer Senior Academic Accounts Manager, Dave Alpert. “We are proud to contribute to the good work of the ACES program.”
Plans to Expand
“Our partners ELAC and GoEngineer are critical to our ability to cultivate a skilled workforce that is proficient in technology and its application to design, manufacturing, and science. As such, we have a strategic plan to grow the number of ACES students who possess the CSWA certification,” adds Soto.
ACES plans, after securing the necessary funding, to expand to South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.