Together, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the City’s leading real estate trade association, the City University of New York (CUNY) and Project Destined are launching a paid, 5-week virtual summer internship program in commercial real estate for 100 diverse, CUNY undergraduate students who lost their in-person summer internships due to the current pandemic.
The internship program was made possible in large part by CUNY, as well as platinum sponsor Donald Zucker, gold sponsors Tishman Speyer and Brookfield Properties, and champion sponsor Rudin Management Company – all longstanding REBNY members.
“The diversity of New York City is one of our city’s greatest strengths and REBNY is focused on efforts to better leverage this great asset within the real estate industry,” said REBNY Chairman Bill Rudin.
“With programs like this, our industry is providing a more inclusive pathway for careers in real estate, which is critical for the long-term success of our City and the development of our next generation of leaders.”
“Real estate is a key driver of New York City’s economy and offers long-lasting, dynamic careers, so we are excited to bring this paid internship opportunity to so many talented and diverse students,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “The real estate industry has a long history of philanthropic and charitable support of New Yorkers, especially in times of need. As we weather the Coronavirus crisis together, our industry will remain a key civic partner for our City, which includes our young leaders, thinkers and creators.”
“This partnership with REBNY and Project Destined is another example of how CUNY is creating fresh opportunities to support our students, whose lives have been profoundly altered by this terrible pandemic,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
“With these internships our students will develop professionally, expand their network of business contacts and help foster a more diverse and inclusive real estate industry that contributes to the City’s economic recovery. The road to New York City’s revitalization runs through CUNY and this program is another example of how we stand ready to play our part in this all-important process. We thank the Hearst Foundation for their support and look forward to the successful launch of this program.”
“We are excited to partner with REBNY and CUNY to prepare this incredible group of students for a career in commercial real estate,” said Project Destined Co-Founder Cedric Bobo. “The real estate industry provides unparalleled opportunities to build a great career while also impacting your community and your city. This internship program will ensure that these students are ready to take on that challenge.”
Project Destined, a nationwide social impact nonprofit program that has deep experience in teaching underserved youth the fundamentals of commercial real estate, will administer the 5-week long internship. As part of the program, interns will work 10 hours per week focusing on real estate training, participating in a weekly Executive Speaker Series and preparing materials for a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition where teams of interns present a real estate deal to industry leaders.
The highly coveted virtual internship received 300 applications in a matter of days. Eligible students were required to reside in New York City, attend CUNY and represent a diverse background, in addition to having a deep interest in a career in the commercial real estate industry. Interns were selected from the pool of candidates chosen for REBNY’s annual internship program, Ladders for Leaders – an initiative of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), supported by the NYC Center for Youth Employment and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City – which was canceled due to the pandemic.
“I grew up in a single-parent household where my mother never owned any property. She always wanted more for us, so a career in real estate seemed like a great way for me to achieve that,” said Shanice Isidore, accounting major at York College at CUNY. “I have a passion for transforming the ordinary into something spectacular and am fascinated by the construction or renovation of buildings in the City, so I am thankful for this opportunity.”
REBNY is committed to advancing efforts that help attract, retain and advance women, people of color, and others from diverse backgrounds in the real estate industry. The organization’s REBNY Fellows Program aims to foster a more diverse and inclusive real estate industry by creating and cultivating a pipeline for rising leaders of diverse background within the industry. On the collegiate level, REBNY has collaborated with CUNY to assemble informative career panels focused on the pathways to leadership roles in real estate. REBNY also launched a new internship program in 2019, in coordination with Ladders for Leaders, which placed over 50 young adults in paid summer internships at leading real estate firms.
Additionally, REBNY partners with Building Skills NY to connect underemployed New Yorkers with jobs and training to create new career pathways into the construction industry, a partnership that has resulted in placing more than 800 individuals from diverse backgrounds since 2016. REBNY’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are supported by REBNY ’s Diversity Committee, which works to create professional opportunities and improve and promote the diversity of the trade association’s membership and the real estate industry at large.
For more information about the Virtual Summer Internship Program, and for a complete list of program sponsors, click here.