New program teaches DC-area students skills for careers in property management

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While DC-area high school students can attend one of many schools to learn skills in construction, electrical, plumbing, engineering and architecture, a new program from Urban Alliance, a national labor development organization Youth Work, and the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Foundation, will add property management to the list of available real estate-related career programs.

The Property Management Pathway program, launched in the 2020-2021 school year with approximately 30 seniors from the DC, Prince George’s County and Alexandria City school systems, connects high school students in the greater Washington area to paid work experience and industrial training in rental and maintenance, with the aim of supporting their transition to part-time or full-time work within the industry after graduation.

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The goal of the program is to introduce youth from communities of color to upward mobility real estate careers and increase diversity within the real estate industry. The program provides students with training from the National Apartment Association for the Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician or Certified Apartment Leasing Professional certifications, a six to seven month paid internship with a local business, and one-on-one mentorship from a property management professional.

In addition to the support of the PREA Foundation and the Diane & Norman Bernstein Foundation, 17 companies in the region have committed to hosting interns: AKA, Bell Partners, Bernstein Management, Bonaventure, Bozzuto, Fairfield Residential, Flock DC, Gables Residential , Gates Hudson, Greystar, Horning Brothers, JBG Smith, LCOR, Penzance, Somerset Development, Van Meter Companies and the Washington Housing Conservancy.

“It is imperative to ensure students are connected to the right path to success after high school and to expose young people to economically mobile career paths,” said Elizabeth Lindsey, CEO of Urban. Alliance, in a press release. “We are thrilled that so many companies have agreed and have come together to create an innovative new path to success while creating a more equitable and diverse talent pool for the residential real estate industry.”

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Urban Alliance plans to double the number of youth participants in the 2021-2022 school year, ultimately serving more than 120 students in both greater DC and Chicago during this three-year pilot program.

According to Urban Alliance, the residential real estate industry is a high-growth, $88 billion revenue industry that offers stable career ladders with low barriers to entry. Yet many companies struggle to recruit and retain qualified diverse talent. According to recent analysis, companies are experiencing an average turnover rate of nearly 35% in entry-level rental and maintenance positions, according to the National Apartment Association.

“We are committed to investing in DC’s youth, especially those whose access and opportunities have been limited by constructs of structural racism. We believe this program effectively identifies students, provides an infrastructure for learning valuable career skills, and connects high school students to meaningful opportunities with businesses in their community; in my opinion, a win for all,” Kelly Lynch, executive director of the Diane & Norman Bernstein Foundation, said in a statement.

More information about the program is available here.

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