Education Week has an interesting story online about an after-school mentoring program focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, with a goal of enrolling 100,000 students a year by 2018.
The Stamford, Conn.-based ACE Mentor Program “provides early career exposure, mentoring, and scholarships to high school students in an attempt to encourage them to enter one of the three fields that make up the ACE acronym: architecture, construction, and engineering,” freelance reporter Jamaal Abdul-Alim writes.
I encourage you to read the story, which brings together after-school, STEM, and real-world, hands-on learning in a nifty package. (The kids involved attend twice-a-week classes, and site visits are a regular part of the curriculum.) The people behind ACE hope that early exposure will draw more kids to careers in STEM—a key goal of the Obama administration. This year, ACE has enrolled only 5,200 young people, but the plan is for ACE to grow and grow.
ACE also offers some pretty compelling data on its successes. Jamaal writes:
A survey of program graduates from 2002 to 2009, conducted and released by ACE in January, indicates that the vast majority of alumni chose a career in the architecture, construction, or engineering fields or began to consider one after participating in the program. The same survey found that ACE students graduated from high school and enrolled in college at substantially higher rates than the national average: 97 percent vs. 73.4 percent and 94 percent vs. 68 percent, respectively. It also found that minority students were majoring in architecture and engineering at several times the rate of their non-ACE counterparts."
A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.