Center for Financial Advancement® and Blend: Creating a More Equitable Workforce

In order to ensure a diverse future workforce, students of all backgrounds must have access to training and opportunities. To help fill that need, HomeFree-USA is proud to partner with Blend to empower and educate the homeowners and corporate leaders of tomorrow.

The HomeFree-USA Center for Financial Advancement® (CFA) is a program at select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that builds financial skills among students and empowers them for homeownership. At the same time, CFA provides students with leadership and professional training, building a pipeline of diverse young professionals poised to excel in internships and positions in corporate America.

Digital lending platform Blend shares CFA’s commitment to bringing diversity to corporate America.

“At Blend, we strive to continuously set the standard for equity and inclusion while developing the leaders of tomorrow,” said Ulysses Smith, head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging. “Becoming the equitable employer of the future is one of our core Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging beliefs. This means that it is our responsibility to actively remove barriers to workforce participation and invest in the development of top talent from all backgrounds.”

Through CFA, students also develop a success mindset that prepares them for successful careers.

“Through our partnership, Blend is providing HBCU students opportunities to work in a Fintech company that is helping to simplify the application approval process for mortgages.  Future homeownership is a critical focus of the Center for Financial Advancement®.  Students can acquire knowledge and develop skills to help make the mortgage industry more diverse and inclusive,” said Gwen Garnett, Program Director for CFA.

The work of CFA is made possible by its partners. Between 2018 and 2021, 597 student scholars have received training and mentoring.  With Blend’s help, more students will benefit from the program.

“The success of CFA is a testament to the need of the financial services industry to provide more equitable access to employment and economic opportunities for communities of color,” said Smith. “Our partnership with CFA is a demonstration of our commitment to bringing those opportunities to the forefront.”