Dozens gathered at the 88Nine Radio studio in Walker’s Point Tuesday to celebrate the revival of ACRE, an educational program that touched the lives of many of Milwaukee’s minorities and put them on a path for success.
Created in 2005 by Marquette’s College of Business Administration and Professor Mark Eppli, the Associates in Commercial Real Estate program, or ACRE, served to train minority students in property management, construction management, and commercial real estate.
But after serving more than 140 students, ACRE was discontinued in 2010. Now, sparked by popular demand, the program will be revived, through a partnership involving the Milwaukee office of Local Initiatives Support Corp., Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and the Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee.
“There’s been a number of people – both individuals who have been involved with the program as well as industry leaders who were familiar with the program – who were really anxious to have it re-launched,” says Leo Ries, executive director of LISC Milwaukee.
Aimed at increasing minority presence in Milwaukee industry, the 28-week program will prepare students for a career in property management and real estate through a series of networking events, work site visits, team exercises, and MSOE/Marquette certified coursework taught by volunteers experienced in the industry. To prove the effectiveness of the program, two highly successful ACRE graduates were honored at the conference.
Joaquin Altoro was one of the first to graduate from the program and has found success due in part to ACRE. Since graduating from the program, Altoro has served on the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin, served as a minority council member of Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., and is currently Vice President of Lending at Town Bank in Milwaukee.
Melissa Goins was another early graduate of ACRE and a success story. She was “unnderpaid, overworked, and expecting child number two,” Goins says, when she sought out a new path for herself and her family by applying for ACRE in 2008. One of her first successes was the development of a low income apartment building, Franklin Square Apartments, on Milwaukee’s North side. Since graduating from ACRE, Goins has founded Maures Development Group, LLC, which has built 162 apartment units around the city with an estimated value of $35 million.
Altoro and Goins are just two of the many success stories that came out of the ACRE program, and with its revival, LISC and its partners hope to foster new success stories.
ACRE begins in September with a class of 20 students. By the program’s end, each of the students will have been exposed to the real estate and property management industry, and have sufficient knowledge and networking skills to acquire an entry level position in the path of their choosing.
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