The PACE concept was first conceived and implemented in 1982 by Members of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and members of the National Technical Association (NTA), the oldest African-American organization of its kind. The founders were Wayne Brown, Ted Butler, David Hill, and Michael Sanders. They sought to design a program geared to expose, educate, and inspire more African-American high school students to opportunities available in engineering.

The first site for PACE (PACE - Monmouth) was established at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey. The success of the program has led to its expansion, enabling us to serve more students and open new branches. In addition to PACE - Monmouth, the program is offered in New Brunswick, New Jersey (PACE YDC Central Jersey - hosted at Rutgers University, Busch Campus).

In 1995, the PACE Youth Development Corporation (PACE - YDC) was established to serve as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization linking the PACE branches to one another, helping each branch to strengthen its services and program offerings, and furthering the expansion of the program through the establishment of new branches.