Alabama State University received a major financial donation as well as a new partnership on Wednesday, June 29.
To help bridge the diversity gap in the real estate industry, Alabama State University, a public historically black university, has partnered with The Alabama Association of Realtors (AAR) to promote educational and career opportunities for ASU students to become diverse leaders in the real estate industry.
The AAR committed $250,000 (over a five-year period at $50,000 per year) to Alabama State University during a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony with President Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
“It’s a Great Time to be a Hornet! We are extremely excited about this partnership … they have…created this mutually beneficial partnership to provide our scholars with the tools that they need, not only to become realtors and great home owners, but also to give them the opportunity to touch and feel the industry of real estate,” said ASU President Quinton T. Ross, Jr. “This partnership will make a tremendous impact on our scholars, which falls right into our values, impacting not only the lives of our students but our community as well. It will further help close this major wealth gap (in home ownership) throughout the country.”
The CEO of the Alabama Association of Realtors, Jeremy Walker, called the partnership visionary.
“This partnership is the very first of its kind throughout the country with a direct relationship with a realtor organization and an HBCU. I’m very proud of that. We hope that this will be a leading endeavor that will become inspirational across the country on what can be done and what is possible…Exposing and empowering students at Alabama State at the ground level… and watching them grow and matriculate into future careers is very exciting,” Walker said.
The partnership involves several components: internship opportunities in real estate, banking, lending and building spaces, and others; and a home ownership education outreach initiative.
Dr. Tanjula Petty, assistant provost for Student Success and Special Initiatives in ASU’s Office of Academic Affairs, said part of the agreement is also about developing micro-credentials, a small subset of courses with a specific emphasis on learning outcomes in skills sets employers want individuals to have.
“These micro-credentials will help prepare students for entry into the workforce in a specific area. It could be in lending, appraisals, doing home inspections, selling and marketing, the purchasing and financing side of homes and much more. Alabama State will work to develop those micro-credentials and offer them to our students and to members of our community,” said Petty. “We hope to close the diversity gap in the real estate industry.”
Less than 6 percent of all real estate professionals are black, compared to 76 percent 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 home ownership. The National Association of Realtors estimates that only 42 percent of the black population in the U.S. owns a home, compared with 64 percent of the general population.
“June is National Home Ownership Month. We want to….promote, empower and educate our students and members of our community about…the many benefits of home ownership. Home ownership leads to the opportunity to develop wealth,” Petty emphasized. “There is a wide gap in black home ownership. ASU will work to provide exciting opportunities for members of its student community to increase their awareness about the benefits of home ownership.”
Delbert B. Madison, President Pro Tempore of the ASU Board of Trustees, and Trustee Tiffany B. McCord agreed that the partnership is about opportunities to put ASU students in a position to become more successful.
“I look forward to the dynamic partnership…Dr. Ross has a vision for this University that will take us to places that we have never been before. This (partnership) is one of those visions…Other HBCUs are not here, and they will have to catch up to the work Dr. Ross, Dr. Pettis and Dr. Petty are doing here,” said McCord.
ASU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Carl Pettis, said the partnership is another pathway to invest in our students.
“This partnership gives us an excellent opportunity to extend the academic footprint for O’ Mother Dear and the students that we serve…Not only will this affect our traditional students, but with this being done through micro-credentials, it also has the potential to affect nontraditional students as well. President Ross has pushed continuously the notion of CommUniversity and Alabama State University will continue to be an integral part of its community,” Pettis added.