To help bridge the diversity gap in the real estate industry, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University has partnered with Grambling State University, a public historically Black university in rural Louisiana, to offer real estate development courses to eligible GSU students.
Less than 6% of all real estate professionals are Black, compared to 76% who are white, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers explains that a shortage of Black real estate agents may be a contributing factor to another issue: a widening gap in Black homeownership. The National Association of Realtors estimates that only 42% of the Black population in the U.S. owns a home, compared with 64% of the general population.
READ ALSO: 20 diverse business leaders to watch in 2021
“This pilot program will create an awareness of real estate development as a viable career option for Black people,” said Mark Stapp, executive director of ASU’s Master of Real Estate Development program and Fred E. Taylor Professor in Real Estate. “Real estate is more than an investment, it’s the physical place we see as community. It builds wealth, creates freedom, houses our economy and offers opportunity — it’s the foundation for the success of people and a community.”
Under the terms of the yearlong agreement, which began March 1, the W. P. Carey School will provide institutional guidance, live academic instruction online and oversight for the pilot program. GSU will be the primary point of contact for eligible student enrollment and academic support during the program.
“This partnership supports GSU students being able to expand their training to include the acquisition of skills associated with real estate,” said GSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Connie Walton. “GSU students will be able to enroll in online real estate courses that are taught by faculty at Arizona State University. We expect that there will be student interest across disciplines at the university.”
Murphy Cheatham, who serves on the Grambling University Foundation Board and is an alumnus of the inaugural W. P. Carey MRED program in 2007, connected the universities and helped put the alliance idea before the Louisiana State University Board of Regents.
“The partnership will go a long way in helping foster more diversity in the commercial real estate industry,” Cheatham said.
The dean of Grambling State University’s College of Business, Donald White, is currently reviewing options related to the establishment of a minor in real estate.