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Career Exploration and College Scholarships Available


(OAKLAND, CA) – Following last year’s successful effort, Laney College and BEST Center are excited to again host ACE Mentor’s afterschool program for Oakland and East Bay high school students. Led by volunteers from local design and construction companies, the program energizes students with hands-on activities and career exploration in architecture, construction, engineering, and skilled trades. Students work on their own designs, and this year, ACE Oakland’s student project is centered around urban design and public parks. Participants are also eligible for scholarships provided by ACE Mentor, which has awarded over $14 million nationwide since inception.

Last year, 33 students completed the semester-long program which culminated in the design of tiny houses to address the local housing crisis. Using Laney’s facilities, mentors helped students to learn new skills in design, traditional and computer-based modeling, and public speaking. Field trips showcased contemporary building technology; meanwhile, guest speakers and college faculty shared their work experiences and reviewed the students’ projects. In addition to supporting these activities, BEST Center highlighted viable career options and community college programs in architecture, building automation, heating and air conditioning, energy management, and construction.

“ACE Mentor is making a difference through its 200+ programs across this country and in communities just like ours. Students are engaged and having fun as they learn about design, sustainable buildings, and network with professionals in the industry and skilled trades,” said Peter Crabtree, BEST’s Principal Investigator and Laney’s Dean of Career and Technical Education. “This important partnership allows us to inspire younger students, who are curious about design and construction, to enroll in community college programs–some of which cannot be found at universities. It is possible to take this path to find a great job and sense of purpose.”

The free program will run from January 24 until May 9 and meet every Wednesday afternoon 4:30-6:45 pm at Laney College. Interested sophomores, juniors, and seniors should apply online at, and applications are due on January 23. Because there are multiple ACE programs in the Bay area, students should identify the one serving their area first before applying. For more information, contact Larry Chang, BEST Center Manager, at or Cammy White, ACE Mentor coordinator, at

About ACE Mentor
The ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc. (ACE) works with high school students and inspires them to pursue careers in architecture, construction, engineering, and skilled trades. Led mostly by volunteers, it’s now the construction industry’s fastest-growing high school mentoring program, reaching over 9,000 students annually. For more information, visit

About the BEST Center
The BEST Center (Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow) at Laney College supports faculty & staff of public, post-secondary career & technical education programs in HVAC, building automation, building performance and facilities/energy management. It receives grant funding from the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit

About Laney College
Located in the heart of Oakland, Laney is one of four colleges in the Peralta Community College District. Laney offers over 100 high-quality academic and career technical education programs to an estimated 11,000 students. For more information, visit


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1700705.

Media Contact: Dolores M. Bernal, Public Information Officer, Laney College –

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