Written by: Samantha Enos – Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Windermere Real Estate
Formed in partnership with the University of Washington College of Built Environments, Windermere’s Aspire internship program launched in July 2021. The internship offers financial support, mentoring, and skill-building through academic and professional office settings to students, with a focus on those from historically underrepresented or marginalized groups.
After a successful first iteration of the Aspire internship in 2021 that saw all eight University of Washington students complete the program, Aspire 2022 had more than double the number of participants. This year, the Aspire program hosted 10 students over eight weeks. The interns met with seven Windermere offices from around the greater Seattle area and three of the company’s ancillary partners (CW Title, Penrith Home Loans, and HomeSight). This year’s curriculum covered the following topics:
- Raising visibility of subsidized programs for home ownership
- Affordable housing design
- Financial literacy for young adults and the role of building wealth through homeownership
- Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and the role for real estate agents as trusted partners
Throughout the course of the internship, the students impressively identified gaps within the housing industry and offered solutions to create meaningful change. With educational backgrounds ranging from architecture and communications to real estate and beyond, this year’s aspire students brought their unique perspectives together to propose practical solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the housing industry. To complete the program, students created presentations on diverse subjects such as access to fair housing, possible solutions to affordable housing issues, and methods of increasing financial literacy among youth. In return, they received invaluable insights into the residential real estate industry and a $3,000 scholarship to go toward their tuition at the University of Washington.
We would like to thank the Windermere owners and leadership team members who helped make this year’s Aspire internship possible. We can’t wait to work with a new group of students next year.
To learn about our DEI initiatives like the Aspire internship program, visit windermere.com/dei.
Samantha Enos currently serves on the Seattle-King County REALTORS® Board of Directors, is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® Mentorship program and is the Chairperson of the Seattle-King County REALTORS® DEI committee. She also volunteers on the Juanita High School DEI committee.
Featured Image Source: Windermere Real Estate