With 75% of the current CPA workforce hitting retirement age in 2020 and declining enrollment in undergraduate accounting programs nationwide, top 30 accounting firm UHY is widening its recruitment efforts to include high school students.
Earlier this month, the Farmington Hills, MI-based firm launched its Junior Connect recruitment program, which is specifically geared toward high school students who are interested in pursuing accounting as a college field of study and career.
UHY will be partnering with high schools nationwide to identify students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, and the firm will provide students access to UHY professionals for a real-life look at what it means to be an accountant, the pathway to becoming an accountant, choosing the right accounting program, and more.
The program is voluntary, according to a UHY spokesperson, and the firm will “lean on teachers to help us identify students, and students have shown interest on their own, too.”
“The battle for talent within the accounting space is incredibly fierce, and with an aging workforce and shrinking incoming graduate pipeline, it is clear that the industry needs to get creative and rethink the ways it appeals to the next generation of STEM and business professionals,” UHY CEO Steven McCarty said in a press release. “The Junior Connect program does just that by introducing students to the modern accounting field and providing them with key learning and networking opportunities as they begin to consider their potential career path and college major.”
The Junior Connect recruitment program kicked off in UHY’s Great Lakes region on June 14 at the firm’s Farmington Hills office—a week after students’ summer vacation began—in partnership with Rochester Community School District and Novi Community School District. Three high school students participated in the first day of the program and “we received solid feedback thanking us for this opportunity to help them grow and build their network as they continue a possible path in accounting,” the firm’s spokesperson said.
As part of the program, UHY Junior Connect participants will receive the following:
- Intro to UHY: Formal introduction to UHY and the broader business of accounting today.
- Inside accounting guidebook: Presented by UHY team members, this session will provide a detailed look into the day-to-day workflows in the modern accounting industry, various roles as an accountant, and what to expect as an accounting major.
- Partner one-on-one’s: Presentations from UHY partners on their roles and growth within the accounting industry, as well as networking opportunities.
“Accounting is one of the most in-demand fields today, and by introducing students to the space early, we strongly believe that we can establish accounting as one of the most attractive career paths available to students,” McCarty said. “We are so pleased to debut Junior Connect in Michigan and are looking forward to rolling out the program nationwide.”
UHY is currently talking with its nine other U.S. regions about running the program in their areas, the firm said.
The Junior Connect recruitment program is an extension of UHY’s Connect Program, a college-level recruitment initiative that teaches prospective accountants about leadership, team building, and professional development. The Connect Program allows potential recruits to get a feel for the firm’s culture and working environment, as well as to make connections with partners, accounting staff, and others prior to graduating and choosing their career path.