Special program at St. Thomas designed to prepare minorities for careers in commercial real estate
Compared to many other professions, the field of commercial real estate employs few people of color. A program that will be offered at the University of St. Thomas this spring hopes to change that.
With community and industry support, the Shenehon Center for Real Estate, part of the university’s Opus College of Business, is offering a 14-week Commercial Real Estate Specialist Program that is designed to train and help recruit people of color for careers in commercial and industrial real estate.
More than 20 students completed the program when it was offered for the first time last year.
“We don’t have local statistics on the number of African American, Latino, American Indian and other minority groups in the commercial real estate industry, but the Twin Cities area probably reflects national statistics. I’ve read that of the 100,000 professionals in the $5 trillion U.S. commercial real estate industry, less than 1 percent are minorities. That is well below the percentages for other professions, including law, medicine, architecture and accounting,” noted Dr. Tom Musil, director of the Shenehon Center at St. Thomas.
Approximately 25 individuals will be competitively selected for the 26-session program, which will run May 2 to Aug. 1 on St. Thomas’ downtown Minneapolis campus. All participants will receive full scholarships.
While participants are not required to have a college degree, they should have some level of higher education. Prior experience in real estate will be helpful, but not a requirement. “Materials covered in the program are comparable to graduate-level real estate coursework,” Musil said.
The sessions will be taught by volunteers who include members of the St. Thomas College of Business faculty and by leading industry experts.
The program will give participants a grounding in the ethics and economics of real estate, and will cover commercial property management, real estate finance, commercial and investment real estate brokerage, and real estate development.
In addition to the classroom work and research assignments, the program will introduce participants to potential employers through receptions and via the Internet. Graduates will receive a certificate of completion.
The participants for the program will be selected on the basis of experience, education, motivation and an interview. “The selection will be competitive,” Musil said. “We hope to have a well-rounded pool of applicants, and most of all we hope the program’s graduates will be successful in the field of commercial real estate. They will help others to follow in their footsteps.”
“This is an excellent example of the community-based partnerships that bring industry and academia together to solve a serious need in the marketplace,” commented Dr. Christopher Puto, dean of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. “It fits perfectly with our mission of blending theoretical knowledge with practical applications to enhance business success.”
Those interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to call St. Thomas, (651) 962-4131, for more information and application materials.