While digital learning has been around for decades in one form or another, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an exponential increase in demand for such learning opportunities. ULI Learning has risen to meet the demand, opening the world of real estate to a broadened and diversified audience in ways never before possible.
Stemming from ULI’s identity as a mission-driven interdisciplinary education and research institute, the ULI Learning platform develops and delivers all ULI learning opportunities, with a focus on hybrid and online courses and webinars.
This best-in-class education enterprise leverages ULI’s connected global network of expert practitioners to create, provide, and distribute the highest quality—and most timely—real estate education for students, professionals, public officials, and community members.
Through the timely, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary scholarship and expertise that are ULI’s hallmark, ULI Learning aims to attract the most diverse, committed, and creative people into the profession and provide them with information and continuous learning needed to positively transform the built environment. Expansion and diversification of the pool of knowledgeable individuals will meaningfully impact the creation and sustainability of more equitable and inclusive communities for all.
With this goal in mind, the Foundations of Real Estate (FoRE) program has been strategically partnering with colleges that do not have their own real estate programs. Developed by ULI Learning with significant philanthropic support from ULI Foundation Chairman Doug Abbey and other donors, FoRE is a conversational video-based certificate program—the first digital comprehensive overview of commercial real estate—that offers more than 25 hours of content.
The program was designed with the express intention to engage with the next generation and attract greater diversity to the profession’s varied career opportunities. “An important way to tackle inequities—and it is a long game—is to change how communities are planned and built, and to expand access to affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, parks, all the things that make better living environments,” Abbey said. “And through this program, we can tap into that desire that young people have to create a better, more equitable world by helping them understand how land use policies and decisions are made and how they affect our communities, in terms of diversity and quality of life.”
Because ULI Learning strategically integrates all the Institute’s content centers and member expertise, it can serve diverse audiences at every stage of the professional lifecycle, from initial exposure to the field (often as early as high school) to career entry, career development and transition, and professional and executive development. And, in turn, early engagement with ULI through the varied opportunities under the ULI Learning umbrella also serves to encourage more young leaders to be a part of the Institute early in their careers.
“The entire class of the University of California-Berkeley Master’s program in Real Estate Development and Design attended ULI’s Fall Meeting in Washington through University Connections,” Abbey said. “What a great introduction to ULI and certain to make lifelong members. These students are highly diverse and are key to achieving our inclusion goals.”
With the entire curriculum now available online, ULI Learning is a scalable to suit a multitude of individuals, companies and organizations, local governments, and universities without real estate programs. This Fall, ULI partnered with REAP to offer a custom, online, educational program for 190 participants, all Black and people of color, with a Spring cohort in the works. Through the ULI-REAP Academy, REAP was able to continue its important work when meeting in person became impossible due to the pandemic.
“It was inspirational to see the value of this high-quality cohort-based experience and we welcome the impact these exceptional participants will have on our industry,” according to Cindy Chance, executive vice president for ULI Learning. “If you are an active supporter of a college without a formal real estate education program, especially HBCUs and minority serving institutions, please let us know. We are eager to connect their students to our industry through our exceptionally high-quality programs. We’re already hearing that recent participants are far better prepared for entry-level positions or for graduate school.”
To find out more about joining ULI Learning supporters like Doug Abbey, contact the ULI Foundation.