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Steve Nellis, President of the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE)

Steve Nellis Interview: Advancing Construction Through Education

The American Institute of Constructors (AIC) is proud to partner with educational organizations that are advancing the construction industry. One of our most valued partnerships is with the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE).

Steve Nellis, the President of ACCE, recently sat down with our organization for an interview to discuss the value of education in supporting the advancement of the construction industry.

We recommend watching the interview with Steve to learn about how AIC and ACCE are advancing the construction industry, how individual constructors can advance in their careers, and the value of collegiate involvement in the certification process.

How AIC and ACCE Support Construction Education

ACCE is the organization that reviews and accredits construction management programs in colleges and universities across the country. ACCE validates that each construction management department offers a credible curriculum and they prepare the individual student to enter the workforce.

A key aspect of the validation process is ensuring that each program has a bonafide exit examination for graduating students. ACCE relies on the quality of our CAC Level I certification exam for construction students to support their objectives.

“ACCE values the AIC certification exams because of the level playing field it creates for all of the students who take the exam, and it measures everybody on a consistent basis, which is what ACCE wants to do,” says Steve Nellis. “We certify students and schools for meeting our minimum standards and requirements, and the AIC exams help do that for us.”

Steve adds that another benefit of the partnership between AIC and ACCE is that students are prepared for future success as they advance in their careers. Establishing a strong foundation at the collegiate level through certification provides constructors with a clear path for growth.

“After a certain number of years in their professional career, if they want that next level of certification from AIC, they can sit for the CPC Level II exam. That gives them that designation known across the construction industry as a Certified Professional Constructor.”

What’s Next for AIC and ACCE Working Together?

In the interview, Steve Nellis revealed a shared vision to grow the emphasis on construction education, training, and certification by starting at the high school level.

Instead of starting with constructors at the collegiate level, the idea is to reach high schoolers who show an interest in construction and have skills that would translate well to the profession.

“Our vision for ACCE with our programs is to work with a student in high school to help them determine how their career path could work with ACCE support behind it,” says Steve. “We are now accrediting skilled workforce training programs that will be applied for an Associate’s Degree program, eventually.”

The idea is to blend the offerings provided by ACCE and AIC to support a student-turned-professional on the “highway of construction education.”

  • The high-schooler learns a skill or trade through an apprenticeship program.
  • The student receives formal education through an ACCE-accredited college program.
  • The student receives a degree in Construction Management and passes the CAC Level I exam.
  • The constructor gains experience in the industry as part of their professional career.
  • The constructor can receive additional education and earn an additional college degree.
  • The constructor becomes certified as a CPC after passing our Level II exam.

Providing high schoolers with a clear view of the career pathway in construction will help create more interest in the profession. By growing the appeal of the industry, the industry will benefit from attracting higher caliber talent who can elevate the quality of construction projects.

Thank you to Steve Nellis for Construction Education Leadership

We appreciate our partnership with ACCE and Steve Nellis as we work together to shape the future of the construction industry. A key aspect of future growth will be the involvement of ACCE-accredited colleges and universities in our certification program.

We invite the leaders from accredited programs to consider becoming an AIC University Partner. Our organization is prepared to help your students enter the workforce with confidence. By incorporating our CAC Level I exam into your program, you will ensure that your students have the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the workforce and grow during their careers.

We invite you to get in touch with AIC to learn how your college or university can get involved.

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