MILWAUKEE — The MKE Commercial Real Estate Summer High School Immersion Program is in full swing.
After just one day, rising high school senior Kynyel Pittman is already seeing a bright future for himself in the real estate industry.
"I'm from Milwaukee. I'm not the richest, but it inspired me to know I can do it and I have an opportunity to do it," said Pittman.
The same goes for Miles Campbell. He's just one of 18 students taking part in the seven-day program that provides high school students of color the opportunity to learn what it takes to break into the commercial real estate industry and develop generational wealth.
"Ever since I was younger I've been a hustler. I've always loved finding new ways to make connections and make money," said Campbell.
The program's main goal is to get more people of color into the real estate industry through exposure and in-person instruction. According to the most recent US Census Bureau data, less than 6% of all real estate professionals across the country are Black. Compared to the nearly 75% who are white.
"Often times, a lot of different career paths, it just doesn't feel accessible if you're a person of color. It doesn't feel like anybody created a place for you to be a part of this," said Andy Hunt, who serves as the Vieth Director for the Center for Real Estate at Marquette University.
In a city where real estate brokerage company Redfin says homes in Black neighborhoods, on average, are undervalued by just over $40,000, directors say the program also provides an opportunity for students to be a part of the solution when it comes to housing disparities in Milwaukee.
"It's sadly something that we need to work on," said Campbell.
"If your neighborhood has been disinvested in, you can be part of that change," said Hunt. "Not only can you make that change but here's how you might be able to do it and there's a path toward that that you can touch and put yourself on."
This program started two years ago, but it's the first time it's being held in person due to the ongoing pandemic. It's all taking place at Marquette University throughout the rest of the week.