Published: Oct. 13, 2022

CUREC sets aside 50 seats in commercial real estate certificate for graduates of a diversity program. ​​

A closeup of a downtown Denver commercial district.

Denver's Civic Center neighborhood at dusk. Leeds is reserving seats in a new executive education program for graduates of REAP, a program designed to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the real estate industry.  

“If you build it, they will come” might work if you’re building a ballpark in an Iowa cornfield—but anyone working in real estate will tell you that’s not a strategy for success. 

That’s why, when it comes to its vision for increasing diversity in the real estate industry, the Leeds School of Business isn’t content to be a casual observer. 

The school has reserved 50 seats in its inaugural commercial real estate executive certificate program for graduates of a nationwide diversity program. 

“Making the real estate industry more diverse requires that we make a real estate education accessible for all students,” said Mike Kercheval, executive director of the CU Real Estate Center. “Raising awareness among diverse students and providing resources to support their study is an important first step toward this goal.” 

Select graduates of Project REAP—short for Real Estate Associate Program—will have tuition waived for the first modules of the Executive Certificate in Commercial Real Estate. The group’s mission is to advance DEI in real estate through education, mentorship, and partnerships; “having access to the most relevant information and opportunities to expand their skill sets is key to advancing their careers,” Manikka Bowman, REAP executive director, said of the organization’s graduates.

Skill and network development

The certificate program consists of three modules designed to provide certification maintenance and upskilling for those in the industry, as well as a path for professionals curious about transitioning into real estate. The courses are taught by seasoned industry professionals as well as CU Boulder faculty, ensuring students learn immediately applicable skills while developing a network of peers and professionals.
“Whether you’re a college student or a business professional, to succeed in real estate you have to know the skills, the terminology, the laws, so you can make sure the deal gets made,” said Madison Gross, a 23-year commercial real estate veteran and consultant to CUREC who helped build the program. “These classes are designed to fill any gaps and to provide tangible value, both to the graduates and to the organizations who employ them.”

READ MORE: Commercial real estate executive education program: Who’s it for?

Reserving seats in the program for REAP graduates is just CUREC’s latest initiative to bring diverse audiences to this lucrative industry. 

Programs like Changing the Face of Real Estate, a scholarship fund to encourage women, students of color and first-generation college students to study real estate, are important in turning around historic practices that reinforced discrimination, such as redlining. Offering REAP graduates these modules for free is a partnership designed to support the diversification of an industry that’s long been homogeneous. 

Each course is delivered online one night a week after hours, to minimize disruptions to busy professional and personal schedules. The modules can be taken separately; students who complete all three are awarded an executive certificate as well as Colorado Continuing Education Units for each hour. Registration for the Fundaments of Real Estate for Non-Financial Professionals course, which starts Nov. 1, is now open. 

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