The Building Industry Leaders, a North Texas Young Leader Group creation in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club, is an after school “Career Ready” program. YLG Volunteers work with 20-25 high school students (freshman-senior) each school year, teaching real estate development, touring offices, and facilitating group projects. Scholarships are then awarded based upon the student’s team presentation of their development concept projects.
Building Industry Leaders
In 2014 the Young Leaders Group saw the need for a program that would enable the organization’s members to use their real estate industry skills in an impactful setting, the Young Leaders Group leadership created the Urban Land Institute’s “Building Industry Leaders” (BIL) program that year and have been actively involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas ever since.
In the fall, students participate in multiple office visits, giving them insight into an office environment and equipping them with the knowledge of the multiple sectors that make up the real estate industry. Students visit The Beck Group for construction and architecture, Kimley-Horn for engineering, Land Design for landscape architecture, Hillwood for land development, along with several other locations. Each visit is hosted by a ULI Young Leader Volunteer who works at the selected company, and can explain the background and skills needed for employment.
In the spring, the students are split into teams and given an plot of available land in the DFW area to “develop.” The teams must then research, design, estimate construction costs and calculate financing for their development. Students are encouraged to use their imagination to design a site and building that could impact the community in positive way. Some students have even taken it upon themselves to survey the needs of actual local residents. At the end of the school year, the teams present their projects and compete for higher education scholarships. Past project winners have been a medical clinic, vocational school for the Boys and Girls Club and multifamily housing.
Not only do the students come away with a thorough grasp of their new-found real estate knowledge, they are able to develop leadership skills, and the ability to work as a team to accomplish their goals, opening up future opportunities that might otherwise not be taken advantage of.
The YLG volunteers spend a collective 800+ hours each school year to mentor the students, but also take the time to truly connect, and in some instances make lifelong friendships. In addition to the program’s curriculum, volunteers hold special sessions on personal finance and student loans to further assist the students in their college preparations.