Fond du Lac High School
seniors Jake Biermann and Victor Castillo earned third place in the recent Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 student masonry competition. Both students are enrolled in Fond du Lac High School’s Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE) Academy
and have plans to pursue careers in the construction industry. The Spec Mix 500 masonry contest was sponsored by Fond du Lac Stone, Inc.
“I was able to talk to local contractors to learn about the construction trades, but also get good contacts to help me get a job in the trades in the near future, I would like to become a heavy equipment operator,” said Biermann. “The ACE Academy has given me so many opportunities and connections to help me to achieve my goals.”
The ACE program has seen steady and rapid growth in the number of students who have been given the opportunity to gain valuable experience in this unique hands-on training geared to the various 16 skilled trades. “I am looking forward to working in the trades so this ACE class at Fond du Lac High School is really helping me look at different works of trades and, hopefully, I am able to work in the trades after I graduate,” said Castillo. The ACE Academy, which began in the 2015-16 school, currently has 181 students participating during the 2021-22 school year.
The number of area companies involved in the ACE Academy has expanded to 52 in addition to 5 state organizations. There are well over 30 industry representatives who come onsite to demonstrate some of the skills and abilities required to get on the path to mastering a specific trade. In the past year, there were 1,600+ total hours of contractor-led learning at the Academy. These presentations provide the students with a bird’s eye view of a skilled trade allowing them to determine if it is something they wish to further explore or pursue as a career.
The ACE Academy takes great pride in being the largest collaborative effort between industry and education in the State of Wisconsin. The primary goal of the program is to expose the students to the various skilled trades and professions within the architecture, construction, and engineering fields. This exposure in combination with the hands-on experiences are key factors in preparing them with the knowledge, skills, work ethic, and confidence to launch their careers.