FVSU Expands Partnership with Rocket Mortgage and HomeFree-USA

by Pamela Berry-Johnson

Posted on Feb 18, 2021

Fort Valley State University (FVSU) announced today it will expand its ongoing partnership with Rocket Mortgage through HomeFree-USA's Center for Financial Advancement (CFA) to continue financial education and career preparation for students. With plans to develop a pipeline to bring diverse new talent to its companies, the mortgage lender has committed to hiring 10% of its future interns from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Initially partnering with Rocket Mortgage and HomeFree-USA in 2018, FVSU is currently one of only six HBCUs in the country participating in the CFA program. The initiative was created to introduce students to the mortgage and real estate finance industry as a career opportunity and elevate their money management skills, while teaching them about homeownership, credit and wealth building. This investment in career preparation will allow HBCU students to access fields where they are traditionally underrepresented.

"Having this partnership commitment extended to our university means that our students will obtain valuable and relevant experience to prepare them for financial career opportunities which will ultimately lead to more inclusion and diverse representation within the industry, " said LuWanna Williams, Director of the Center for Student Engagement at Fort Valley State University.

A total of 86 students from FVSU have already participated in the program which included courses and seminars on understanding student loans, budgeting and building a legacy of wealth. Additionally, one FVSU student has already completed an internship with Rocket Mortgage company, Quicken Loans.

"Diversity, equity and inclusion are core tenets of our culture – existing beyond the lens of homeownership by informing everything we do and every space our organization touches," said Trina Scott, Chief Diversity Officer for Rocket Companies. "This expanded partnership will provide Black and other students of color with financial education programming and training, as well as allow them to access meaningful opportunities to join our organization in whatever role best suits their talents and skillsets."

Rocket Mortgage and HomeFree-USA will leverage the CFA Scholars program to bring diverse talent to Rocket Companies. Equipped with vital career, leadership, financial and life-skills training, students will be able to attend events at Rocket Mortgage's campus in Detroit. The program will also allow students to meet with talent recruiters and participate in conferences with Rocket Companies executives.

"Partnering with companies like Rocket Mortgage allows us to continue this important work of diversifying talent in corporate America while providing much-needed financial literacy to our students at historically Black colleges and universities," said Marcia Griffin, President and CEO of HomeFree-USA and an alumna of two HBCUs. "Very few mortgage and real estate finance corporations and financial institutions have internship programs that aggressively recruit directly from HBCUs. This must change. Students at historically black colleges and universities are among the best America has to offer."

In addition to FVSU, other schools participating in the program include Fisk University, North Carolina A&T State University, Bowie State University, North Carolina Central University and Morgan State University.

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