NAIOP Colorado Launches Partnership with Denver Public School’s CareerConnect

A photo taken during a NAIOP mentor program event held in 2019.

As a leader in commercial real estate, NAIOP Colorado recognizes there is a need for greater diversity and inclusion in our industry. In addition, the organization wants to provide its members with diverse opportunities to take their careers and relationships to the next level. In 2020 NAIOP Colorado launched its inaugural partnership with Denver Public School’s (DPS) CareerConnect for the 2020 Summer Internship Program.

By partnering with CareerConnect, NAIOP will expose low-income, high-performing high school students throughout metro Denver to the commercial real estate industry, in the hopes that they will pursue commercial real estate in college and beyond.

NAIOP was paired with two sophomores from Thomas Jefferson High School for a virtual summer internship. The participating companies, United Properties, Prime West and Evergreen Development, rotated the students over a five-week internship. The students were invited to project meetings and shadowed their supervisors on client calls. The students had two primary projects. First, a career visioning exercise led by Paul Washington of JLL. The goal was for the students to present their vision and actionable steps to their team of supervisors and Mr. Washington for feedback.

The student’s second project was to present a concept for a current development in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood. As the students collaborated on potential development ideas, they also took an online NAIOP course, Commercial Development 101. After two weeks of collaboration, the students did a wrap-up presentation for their supervisors where they discussed the project’s scope, design elements, and zoning considerations.  After their internships, the students and supervisors provided each other with constructive feedback and talked about getting together to meet in person once some of the current social-distancing measures have been repealed.

In addition to NAIOP’s partnership with DPS CareerConnect, NAIOP recently kicked off the 2020 Mentor/Mentee Program. After years of having a lightly structured program since 2010 NAIOP re-tooled the program in 2014.

Even with the challenges that COVID-19 presented, NAIOP hosted a socially-distanced kick-off event at the RiNo Beer Garden, as well as a virtual event option, on July 8, 2020.  In addition to the pre-scheduled events, Mentors and Mentees are strongly encouraged to meet regularly throughout the program. Events will continue through the remainder of 2020 and will conclude on November 19, 2020 with the Wrap-Up and Mile High Mogul Event, which allows program participants the opportunity to personally connect with Denver’s most highly regarded real estate professionals.

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