Exciting opportunities await aspiring accounting students

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

While some fret over the state of the accounting pipeline, The Ohio CPA Foundation is doing something about it by recruiting the best and brightest. The charitable affiliate of OSCPA has expanded programming for some of its longstanding initiatives and is introducing a new initiative this year thanks to the generous support of individual and corporate donors who believe in the Foundation’s mission.

Applications are now open for The Accounting Careers Leadership Academy (ACLA) and Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP-Ohio), programs geared specifically toward underrepresented high school and college students.

ACLA helps college students prepare for a career in accounting through a multi-day program during which students listen to leaders in the profession and participate in interactive sessions designed to strengthen their leadership skills and prepare them for their career after graduation.

For high school students, ACAP-Ohio is a week-long program that gives them the opportunity to explore accounting and the benefits it offers as they spend a week on The Ohio State University campus.“Showing young people that accounting is a career for them is very important,” said Jasmine Abukar, manager, diversity and inclusion. “Our goal is reaching these students earlier, especially those in underrepresented populations, to increase recruitment and retention across the profession.

“Our programs provide specific leadership and skills training that prepares these students for the accounting field. After attending, they have more awareness around accounting and are more engaged in the career.”

Abukar said the Foundation makes a conscious effort to improve the programs every year, updating the content based on what’s relevant and switching out the speakers. She said since ACLA regularly has many returning students, it creates even more of an incentive to keep the material fresh. This year’s program will include the first ACLA mixer to bring together program participants, alumni and sponsors. This will give the students an opportunity to network in a relaxed environment.

And with the ever-growing importance placed on technology’s role in the profession, ACAP-Ohio this year has added an accounting and technology session for the students, with information that’s intended to be foundational and exciting.

In addition to ACLA and ACAP-Ohio, the Foundation is introducing a new program this year, The Careers in Professional Accounting (CPA) Camp. CPA Camp is a two-and-a-half-day residential program at Cleveland State University, during which high school students stay overnight at residence halls and receive a foundational look at accounting and business. CPA Camp applications are open now.

“We are engaging a highly talented, exceptionally motivated group of young people through this work,” she said. “They oftentimes don’t understand the opportunity of a career in accounting until they attend these programs.”

“Our assessments show that we’re changing students’ minds about accounting in a positive way,” Abukar said. “We’re giving them primers for what they can expect both academically and professionally and those lessons are sticking with them.”

Would you like to make a difference in the life of a future CPA? Contact Jasmine Abukar.

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