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PREA Foundation Invests $10.8 Million in SEO Career to Advance Diversity and Inclusion in Real Estate

Gaby M. Rojas

PREA Foundation (Pension Real Estate Association) has approved an $8 million investment into SEO Career (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity) over five years–SEO’s largest multi-year grant–to continue developing and placing a pipeline of Black, Hispanic, and Native American interns and entry-level candidates at top real estate firms. This recently approved $8M grant, coupled with an initial $ 2.8M pilot grant to launch the SEO Real Estate Track in 2018, brings the total investment to $10.8M to help develop a diverse career pipeline into commercial real estate.

“We are proud to partner with SEO to provide students with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the commercial real estate industry,” said Deborah Harmon, Co-Founder of the PREA Foundation and CEO at Artemis Real Estate Partners. “This collaboration is an important step forward in producing a more diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the communities we serve.”

Equipped with the technical training needed to succeed, students thrive in dozens of roles, including Real Estate Private Equity, Capital Markets, Property Management, Investor Relations, Commercial Real Estate, and Asset Management.

“Without SEO, I wouldn’t have been as proactive about contributing to the real estate industry,” says SEO alum Lynne Andre, who interned with JPMorgan Chase & Co. for two consecutive summers and, upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania this spring, will be an Analyst at Artemis Real Estate Partners. “Connecting and learning from those who look like me has pushed my motivation and confidence to join the field and pursue a career I have truly been passionate about.”

The grant will allow SEO Career to expose 2,600 students to education events on-campus with partner schools and real estate-themed training boot camps for freshmen and sophomores in multiple cities, including Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Through its newest initiative SEO Hire, the grant also strengthens the organization’s ability to expand its efforts of closing the gap of full-time employment opportunities by providing 300 full-time jobs.

Since its launch in 2017, the PREA and SEO Career Real Estate Track partnership has provided intensive, industry-led training and coaching to 450+ interns across 30+ cities. Students have secured life-changing summer internships with firms across the commercial real estate industry, with interns earning over $4 million in wages across five years. Of the program’s graduating class of 2022, an average of 90% currently work full-time in the real estate industry.

“PREA’s partnership elevates SEO Career being the premier real estate training program for historically excluded students in the country,” says Mindy Davis, senior vice president and managing director of SEO Career. “This grant takes our work to the next level in closing the opportunity gap for young professionals of color and ensuring the real estate industry has access to a diversified workforce.”

By merging SEO Career’s structured professional development program with PREA’s network of 100+ partner firms, interns have exclusive access to c-level executives, top internship opportunities, 100+ hours of coaching and training, and a lifelong professional network.

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