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University of Colorado Spearheads Diversity-Focused Real Estate Education Partnership

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The University of Colorado Boulder has launched a program of courses aimed at supporting existing commercial real estate professionals and developing new ones. Project REAP is a non-profit organization that develops real estate professionals from traditionally underrepresented groups in the field.

Manikka Bowman is executive director of Project REAP, a nonprofit organization with more than 1,700 alumni, whose mission is to reduce barriers for people of color in the commercial real estate industry. (Project REAP/Provided photo)

Project REAP, which stands for Real Estate Associate Program, has offices in Boston and New York and is dedicated to its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in real estate.

Manikka Bowman, Executive Director of Project REAP, and Michael Kercheval, Member of the Board of Directors of Project REAP and Executive Director of Real Estate Center at CU’s Leeds School of Business, announced the Advanced Learning program, a first-of-its-kind educational initiative. was jointly developed. It started this fall.

“One of the fundamentally important things for me is training people of color and helping them succeed in a real estate industry that lacked diversity,” Kercheval told BizWest. .

Project REAP was first launched in Washington, DC in 1998 as a facilitator of meetings between employers and diverse job seekers and was described as “a great opportunity to transition into professionals and bring trained talent into the industry.” I’ll give you a pipe to do it,” he said. I have seen people promoted to senior positions at some of the big real estate companies. ”

The organization also offers the REAP Academy where participants can take crash courses on topics such as development, property management, investment and leasing.

The Advanced Learning Program at CU is a new offering that provides Project REAP participants with a series of courses on commercial real estate, industry finance, and the fundamentals of real estate law, taught by industry experts from CU faculty and developers. Provides subsidized access to non-degree courses. Brokerage leader to investors.

Leeds School’s Real Estate Center “will cover the costs of Project REAP graduates as part of our DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) initiative,” said Kercheval. “We thought it was much more important to provide that opportunity to a great group of diverse professionals than to make a profit.”

Over 100 people nationwide have taken the 12-week online foundation course.

At the end of the course, students earn Colorado continuing education credits, a Certificate of Completion and, of course, access to industry leaders for potential mentorship and employment opportunities.

“Project REAP sees[our partnership with CU]as a way to enhance the qualifications and skill sets of our graduates, and the real estate industry as a whole,” said Kercheval.

There are over 1,700 Project REAP program graduates nationwide.

Project REAP Executive Director Manikka Bowman told BizWest: The Advanced Learning program partnership with CU is an example of another evolutionary step for this group.

“What is exciting to me is not only the ability to continue building that (talent) pipeline (of real estate professionals with diverse backgrounds) through the REAP Academy, but also the dynamic talent pool through REAP’s relationship with projects and CU. ,” she said.

Access to opportunities to “be part of commercial real estate and build wealth” “is a barrier for people of color,” Bowman said. Opening up programs like advanced study courses at CU to Project REAP graduates is “part of the solution.”

This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news organization, and is published under license. © 2022 BizWest Media LLC.