She helps people who never dreamed of working in real estate launch rewarding new careers


alabama center real estate
One application ultimately changed her future. (LaToya Gillis)

LaToya Gillis was a student in the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s CORE—Career Opportunities in Real Estate—program, and now she’s the Workforce Development Coordinator for ACRE. Her role includes leading the Center’s career service program that supports the nation’s largest real estate program housed within the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama. Learn why she chose to be a part of CORE, why a program like this is so necessary today and how the program continues to diversify the industry.

LaToya Gillis had a desire to expand her education

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LaToya could not be happier with her new career in Tuscaloosa. (LaToya Gillis)

LaToya Gillis graduated from the CORE program in 2022 and began working for ACRE in January 2023.

Being a part of the CORE program was life changing for LaToya. A 20-year public servant for the state of Alabama, she most recently served at the Bay Minette Career Center for seven years. As she was approaching her birthday last fall, two of her longest mentors were retiring and many of her peers were entering new chapters in their lives.

“I thought to myself, what can I do now? I decided I wanted to expand, grow and enhance my transferable skills. As I began looking at different opportunities for career advancement and personal development, I knew this was going to be an out-of-pocket expense for me.

That’s when I came across CORE and the scholarships they provide. I applied, was accepted, and it’s been up from there.”

LaToya Gillis, Workforce Development Coordinator, ACRE

CORE was the perfect opportunity

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She found the right fit with ACRE. (LaToya Gillis)

So, what is CORE? The free program teaches selected participants the necessary skills to be successful in an entry-level real estate position as well as connects students to influential people in the industry. It is a fantastic way for students to jump start their real estate careers at no cost.

According to LaToya, initiatives like CORE are so important and necessary in the real estate today.

“We need representation. The program is accessible and brings knowledge and exposure to the the opportunities that underrepresented people can have available to them. It teaches students of all the different sectors of real estate and pushes them to explore careers they may have never even considered.”

LaToya Gillis, Workforce Development Coordinator, ACRE

The industry lacks diversity + CORE is here to change that

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Known in the community for striving towards diversity and inclusion in real estate. (Grayson Glaze)

CORE’s mission is simple—to provide accessible opportunities and knowledge to underrepresented groups in an effort to diversify the real estate industry.

Grayson Glaze, the Executive Director of ACRE, recently won an award for the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts from the Birmingham Business Journal.

“On behalf of our CORE Ready workforce development team members and supporters, we humbly thank the BBJ for recognizing our efforts to assist our beloved real estate industry become more reflective of our diverse workforce as we strive to make real estate a career of choice, not chance.”

Grayson Glaze, Executive Director, ACRE

Check out their website for more details and your opportunity to apply to their next CORE cohort.

Their new Local Focus initiative puts employer eyes on CORE graduates

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LaToya is passionate about bringing the same opportunities she found to others. (LaToya Gillis)

LaToya has been able to be a part of CORE’s most recent project, the Local Focus initiative. This includes a directory of CORE graduates among other resources for local companies to search for local talent from underrepresented groups looking for positions ranging from internships to apprentices and full-time jobs. 

Once CORE pilots Birmingham for lessons learned, it will be rolling out to other cities as there becomes a critical mass of students and local support.

It’s also an opportunity for organizations in the community to become CORE champions and put their companies or schools in front of CORE graduates to consider as their next move.

Once employers choose what type of talent they’re looking for, they’ll find a directory of graduates and their info including:

  • Downloadable resumes
  • Career interests
  • Location preference
  • Contact info

“This is an amazing benefit for CORE graduates as well as local organizations. People like myself that have relocated now have an outreach opportunity, and additional connections to other CORE alumni as a support system.”

LaToya Gillis, Workforce Development Coordinator, ACRE

Want to jump into the real estate industry with this incredible opportunity? Learn more and apply to their next cohort today—the summer certificate course offering starts June 12th.

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