Windermere Real Estate, in partnership with the University of Washington (UW) College of Built Environments, has launched a paid internship program called “Aspire,” which will provide real estate skill building, financial support and mentoring to UW students, with a focus on students who come from historically underrepresented or marginalized groups.
“After learning about Windermere’s commitment to increasing diversity within the real estate industry, [Dean of the College of Built Environments] Renee Cheng approached us with an opportunity to partner with the College of Built Environments on the Aspire internship program,” Windermere President OB Jacobi said in a statement. “Our goal is to inspire interest and engage students of color in the wide variety of careers and leadership opportunities available to them in real estate.”
The eight-week internship, which began on Tuesday, will focus on educating students on the single and multi-family residential real estate market in the greater Seattle area, in both academic and professional settings. During the program, the eight students selected to participate will learn about components of real estate like finance, sales, marketing, intercultural dialogue and leadership.
“It can be difficult for our students to appreciate the historical role of homeownership in building generational wealth, particularly if their own lived experience includes housing insecurity,” Cheng said in a statement. “This program equips students with the context and confidence to engage with the role of home in the build environment.”
The Aspire internship will culminate in each student presenting their work completed over the course of the summer to industry professionals. Windermere will also fund a $5,000 scholarship to each internship participant, to be awarded in the fall, and has committed to funding scholarships for future interns in years to come.
According to a press statement, Windermere has supported UW for several decades through academic and athletic sponsorships, beginning with the first Windermere Cup Rowing Regatta in 1987.
For this inaugural Aspire internship program, the organizers specifically sought out students from underrepresented groups, or those that experienced housing insecurity first-hand. Over 40 students applied to the program, and those selected are majoring in a variety of fields, including Real Estate and Community, Environment, and Planning; as well as fields outside of the College of Built Environments.