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New Partnership Seeks To Turn On The Taps Of HBCU-To-CRE Pipeline


Participants at HBCU Day in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2019.

CBRE is teaming up with Project Destined to create a scholarship and mentorship program at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Project Destined's HBCU Bridge Program will give 100 HBCU students program scholarships beginning this spring, aligning them with academic advisers from the same colleges and universities. Over six weeks, students will have access to 40 hours of speakers, workshops and career development, including skills training in networking, LinkedIn, financial modeling and more.

“Too many groups have felt more victim than participant in change through real estate in their communities,” said Project Destined co-founder Cedric Bobo in a release. “This partnership gives us a chance to demystify real estate, create a pathway and provide the training that’s necessary. CBRE’s incredible global network will create great opportunities for these students.”

Project Destined, which helps minority individuals become involved with real estate, previously worked with CBRE on an eight-week virtual internship program in 2020. Additionally, Project Destined was one of several community organizations that received funds from CBRE last year as part of a greater $7.25M donation.

Though the overwhelmingly White CRE industry is trying to create more diversity in its hiring, no accredited HBCUs have a real estate major or concentration for bachelor's or graduate degrees, according to an August Bisnow report. HBCUs are frequently cited as a way for employers to find diversity in their new hires, but only 26 HBCUs have credited classes around real estate.

A combination of underfunded schools and a long history of laws and regulations prohibiting Black families from homeownership and investment in real estate mean that HBCUs often focus their resources in other areas, where there may be a clearer path to jobs. Some CRE companies do partner with HBCUs, but not as many companies in the accounting, law or energy fields, Bisnow reported.

CBRE Chief Responsibility Officer Tim Dismond said the new program would empower a new generation of Black leaders in the industry.

“Thanks to our comprehensive partnership, CBRE is gaining access to a rich pipeline of future talent from underrepresented communities of color so our workforce reflects the communities where we live and work," he said.