The ACE model is an evidence-based proven solution that provides a transformative experience and impact for students, faculty, colleges and the community.


ACE sets students up for success in college by helping them translate life skills into their academic experience.  ACE helps students see themselves as "college material" and gives them the confidence, skills and supports to succeed.  Through direct experience, ACE is teaching the behaviors of showing up, hard work, fulfilling commitment, effective listening, having reasoned discussions, and effectively communicate to work in teams with others unlike themselves.  These are the same skills that drive effective entrepreneurship and civic engagement.

Academic Impact

7.8 x in 1

ACE students are 7.8 times more likely to pass transfer-level math & English courses in the following semester than their peers.

ACE students are 4 times more likely to pass transfer level math & English courses two semesters after attending the ACE program than their peers.

4 x in 2

ACE students earn more than twice as many college-level credits on average and they are more likely to enroll full time in the semester following their ACE experience than their peers.  


ACE students who completed the ACE Foundations of Leadership Course and Bridge Semester exhibited significant gains in academic self-efficacy, personal responsibility, college identity, mindfulness, and leadership and teamwork efficacy.

Ultimately participation in an ACE provides students hope and proves to them that it can be done.  The intrinsic change ACE creates shared hopes in students which anchors them to one another, to their colleges and their communities.

The most important thing i learned was this course gave me the strength to pick back up what I am passionate about and just be myself
— S.C., Cabrillo College student


At ACE, we take our inspiration from William Butler Yeats, who said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Just as our courses light a new fire for learning in vulnerable students; they light a fire for a new way of teaching among community college faculty to reach those students.

We help faculty change the way they understand, connect with and teach the most vulnerable students. They reconnect with the thrill of teaching as they connect with vulnerable students to spark their thrill in learning.  For many its reconnecting with the why they give so much of their lives to teaching. For some it validates the way they have taught for years, but with longitudinal evidence and complete curriculum kits that include supporting professional development and peer support.

The FELI has rehumanized my teaching philosophy.
— E.C., Contra Costa College


Community colleges are rooted in their communities, and must adapt to local needs. Demographic shifts in communities are resulting in more first-generation students with different needs that the students that the colleges were originally designed to serve. Colleges are called to new approaches that better serve these underprepared students coming through their doors.  Where student equity gaps exist between the college populations and their communities ACE has been effective in helping colleges to improve access and success.

By demonstrating success with our most challenging students, ACE is sustaining community colleges in their role as engines of progress and prosperity in our communities.

I believe that this program is on the cutting edge of a new wave in education and will transform millions of lives.
— D.N., Broward College


Community colleges play a critical role in lifting people out of poverty.  They are local, open and accessible, and the most affordable option in higher education. Further, community colleges are adept at creating curriculum that trains students for skilled jobs with local employers in the community.  But they don't work in isolation, or at least they shouldn't.  Many community based organizations work daily to set people on a pathway to family-supporitng jobs and that means not only getting them to their first day at community college ā€” it means equipping them with the skills to arrive, survive until they thrive.  ACE graduates become the leaders in their communities.

Community by community, ACE fills a critical gap in services by empowering people striving for a better life to be successful citizens with college degrees and a deep understanding of the skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century workplace.

I feel that it was a good component of my professional life that was missing and unconsciously Iā€™m glad my boss enrolled me because some of the concepts I was thinking about but was able to put them together by coming to FELI
— H.O., Health Care Clinic