The AOBA Educational Foundation (AEF) works with the local real estate market to develop talented building engineering and maintenance professionals.


Real estate executives surveyed who said their company found it difficult to find qualified hires in 2018.  Source: 2019 SelectLeaders Network Hiring Trends Survey 



93,000 / 0

Number of jobs moved out of US in 2017; Number of building operations jobs moved out of DC region. Source: US Department of Labor; AEF


Average student loan debt for graduates of four-year public and private colleges. (Not required for entry-level positions in building operations)  Source: Institute for College Access and Success

Our Mission

The AEF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was created by members of the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) to address the talent crisis in the commercial real estate industry by focusing on the critical need to promote careers in building operations, engineering, and maintenance.  We connect job seekers, training centers, workforce development programs, and employers – all to help companies recruit, develop, train, and retain the next generation of skilled tradespeople in the Metro DC region.  Our work provides long-term, tangible economic benefits and a workforce development pathway to stable, lucrative careers.

For years, commercial property managers have been challenged to recruit, hire, and retain the next generation of building operations employees. In response to this pressing need, the AEF was formed as a vehicle to create a comprehensive, regional solution to what many refer to as “the engineering talent crisis.” Although our primary mission is focused on commercial real estate careers, we are also taking steps to provide services that support careers in residential property management, commercial janitorial service, and skilled trades (HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.)

We want to develop the best real estate talent in the DC-Metro area.

Our recruitment process helps provide area residents with the information they need to pursue a career in building operations, and how candidates can get their education, professional development and connections to local employers all in one place: AEF.

To accomplish our mission, the Foundation works closely with AOBA, a regional trade association that is affiliated with both BOMA International (representing commercial building owners and managers) and the National Apartment Association (representing multifamily building owners and managers).  Although the Foundation is a separate organization, we are able to leverage AOBA’s connection to owners and managers of more than 200 million square feet of commercial office space and 300,000 residential apartment units in Metro DC.

Address the talent crisis by developing a pool of skilled professionals.

By identifying industry demands, and maintaining strong relationships with internship program sponsors and partner institutions, we’ll be able to provide the local commercial real estate market with the best possible candidates to meet their needs. Providing qualified candidates will meet the short term labor demands of the growing commercial real estate market in Washington, DC. We’ll attract qualified candidates by showing the clear path to advancement that a career in building engineering and operations provides, and promote the variety of training and career development opportunities that become available to AEF interns.

Learn more about the AEF Internship Program.

The Foundation’s Paid Internship Program, piloted in 2018, matched qualified high school and college students with property management companies in the Washington, DC area. This partnership provided students and local residents the experience needed to jump-start a career in the building engineering industry, and gave sponsor companies a direct pipeline to qualified candidates for their open positions. 


Watch our brief video to hear Foundation Board members speak about the Foundation’s mission and priorities, and to learn about the success of AEF’s summer internship program.