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The Future of the Construction Industry Starts with ACE Students

Raised by his grandmother in downtown Chicago, Isidro would look up at the massive skyline as a child knowing he wanted to help build it someday. When Isidro and his family moved to Cleveland he discovered the ACE Mentor Program in his high school. He was intrigued because it aligned with his interest in construction.

“I think construction needs to be better explained to students in general, especially the trades. Construction trades are fields that will always be around no matter what. Even with natural disasters, you are always going to rebuild, there will always be work.”

Entering the ACE Mentorship Program at John Hay provided Isidro with the tools to explore his childhood dream. Through ACE, Isidro was able to take a deep dive into all of the aspects of building he admired as a child through project-based learning directly from A/E/C industry professionals.

After spending two years in the program and learning firsthand experiences from mentors and volunteers, Isidro decided that a degree program in Construction Management was the perfect fit for him, and offered the job diversity and growth he was looking for. With the help of an ACE Scholarship, Isidro entered into Kent State University’s Construction Management Program with a minor in Business Administration.

Professors can see first hand the impact the ACE Program has had on Isidro’s academic performance. Leveraging knowledge learned in the program and mentor relationships long after the high school classroom, Isidro excels in his coursework and will be graduating in 2020.

“Isidro is one of our most talented and hardworking students here at Kent State. I have had the pleasure of instructing and working with Isidro throughout his career in the construction management program and I believe ACE prepared him to succeed at the university level. I cannot wait to see what his professional future holds in store,” explained Anthony Mirando, MS, LEED AP-ND Construction Management College of Architecture & Environmental Design.

Currently, Isidro is completing an internship with ACE Program Sponsor, Whiting-Turner, one of the largest construction companies in the nation. In May Isidro will fulfill a lifelong dream and return to his hometown of Chicago to start an internship with Walsh Construction.

Once his college career is complete, Kent State University has a 100% rate of job placement. In addition to KSU’s job placement success rate, Isidro is well-connected with industry professionals at some of the top firm’s through his involvement in ACE. In the future, Isidro looks forward to helping individuals in the same situation, become first-generation college graduates.

What would you tell a student about the ACE program to get them involved?

So many great things...ACE gets you out of your comfort zone and gives you an outlet for field experience while interacting with fellow students. Within the program, you are introduced to great role models, the individuals are amazing, you have to experience it first hand to understand.

In ACE, you challenge yourself to build and create something incredible. Through my mentors, I learned that the construction industry was where I want to be. There are no limits where you can take your career.

What do you value most about mentorship in general?

Having someone that knows what you’re going through and the struggles that you face. My parents did not go to college, it is nice to talk to someone about the challenges that go along with college. College is not easy financially or as a program.

What are some of your goals for the future?

Before the recession, my family was well off, then we were homeless for a bit. In the future, I want to be in the construction industry and go into real estate. I want to enjoy some years I didn’t have a chance to as a child. I definitely want to travel once I graduate.

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