Career Center Trainees Imagine New Use for Charity Hospital Building
NEW ORLEANS – From the New Orleans Career Center:
High school students in the engineering/manufacturing pathway at New Orleans Career Center have designed a new use for part of the long-vacant Charity Hospital, thanks to the guidance of professionals in the ACE Mentor Program. NOCC trainees will present their project at the ACE graduation ceremony on April 27 at an event at the University of New Orleans.
“The students came up with the idea to repurpose part of Charity Hospital as a multiplex with space for job training and services that help unhoused people re-enter society,” said Claire Jecklin, NOCC founding executive director. “The ACE Mentors ensure students understand the complexities involved in a project of that scale, accompany them on in-person visits to area employers, and develop real relationships they can rely on in the future. This program is a huge benefit to NOCC’s trainees, who will enter their working and college careers well- prepared with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed for those environments.”
NOCC’s engineering/manufacturing pathway provides hands-on training in the practical skills of drafting, 3D modeling, and prototyping. Students gain professional certification in Autodesk Inventor, a 3D CAD (computer- aided design) software widely used in industry for product design, rendering and simulation. Those involved in the ACE Mentor Program gain the added benefit of working side-by-side with architects, engineers and construction professionals on a project the students developed themselves.
THE ACE project team at NOCC consists of 13 students from a variety of New Orleans high schools. Students on the team serve in typical project roles such as architectural designers, civil or structural engineeers, construction estimators, project managers and construction supervisors. Six area professionals from architecture, engineering and construction backgrounds advise and mentor the students.
“The ACE program is as rewarding for the mentors as it is for the students,” said ACE Lead Mentor Joey Lefante, senior associate/traffic engineer at Stantec. “I was impressed by the passion they showed for their chosen project. They saw it as something which could provide a real public service. And at its core, that’s really what our industry is all about. The structure of the Career Center is unique in that it brings together students from many different schools. This helps create a culture of collaboration and prepares them to build relationships in a work environment.”