In July, seven local students successfully completed the company’s first internship program designed explicitly for high school students.
Wilmington-based developer The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) is proud to graduate its inaugural class of BPG University (BPG U) interns. On July 13th, seven local high school students successfully completed BPG’s first internship program designed explicitly for high school students to learn all aspects of real estate development prior to finishing high school. With a strong focus on professional development, the goal of the internship program is to expose students to a variety of potential careers with all levels of education requirements and connect them with pathways for future employment either at BPG or other real estate and construction firms.
During the 3-week paid program, students worked together to complete a mock development project from start to finish, interacting with each department at BPG along the way, from acquisitions & finance to leasing & marketing to development & construction to procurement & operations. Through this rotational model, interns learned the various ways teams work together to bring a project to fruition at BPG. Upon completion of BPG U, each student left with a portfolio of work and a network of ongoing mentors committed to their continued success.
The program began on June 18th and was held at BPG’s headquarters in Downtown Wilmington, where students were exposed to all aspects of the corporate environment including the soft-skills trainings necessary to enter this type of workplace. In addition, the curriculum incorporated various guest speakers and offsite fieldtrips for a comprehensive understanding of BPG’s extensive portfolio and the various government officials and community leaders BPG associates interact with on a daily basis.
A diverse pool of applicants were sourced with assistance from community partners, such as Goodwill of Delaware, NCC Vocational Technical Schools, Delaware Office of Work-Based Learning, Serviam Girls Academy, Reach Riverside, and The Warehouse. After a competitive interview process, the seven students selected displayed an eagerness to learn the ins and outs of real estate and are actively engaged in various local and national extra-curriculars, including Network Connect, One Village Alliance, The Win Factory, Jack and Jill of America, and The Achievers Program.
Following the program, several students expressed interest in pursuing a career in real estate development and have already reached out to take advantage of the networking opportunities introduced by BPG U.
“The goal of the program was really to inspire interest in future career paths by providing real-world work experience in an office setting,” said Sarah Lamb, Vice President of Design, Marketing, & Community Outreach for The Buccini/Pollin Group. “Each and every one of these students has a bright future ahead of them, and we are humbled to have even had the slightest impact on their professional development. We will consider the program a success when our students return after high school to apply for our college internships, post-graduate positions, and so forth.”
“I had no idea what to expect when I joined the program, said Grace Umoren-Udo, rising senior at Appoquinimink High School. “Rather than a typical internship, BPG U, like a university, gave us multifaceted education in real estate. My fellow interns and I came ready and eager to learn and left full of inspiration and aspirations for our future careers. It’s undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
BPG U is an associate-led youth development initiative conceived in an effort to address some of the inequalities that exist in our community and increase diversity in the industry. BPG will continue to host the program on an annual basis with the hope that other companies in Wilmington see its value and offer similar youth development opportunities.
“As leaders in our community, we want to use our platform and resources as a positive force for change in Wilmington,” said De’Joun Lee, BPG U Program Coordinator. “While developing the program, we searched for other local companies with similar internship opportunities but could not find anything comparable to what we plan to achieve. In the future, we hope BPG U will serve as a model for neighboring companies to express their commitment to the youth of our community.”
For more information on how to get involved with BPG University or adopt a similar program at your company, please email BPGU@bpgroup.net.