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High Schoolers Get a Taste of What It’s Like to Work at CLA

Interns this summer look even younger than the usual fresh-faced college students who man the cubicles at the top 10 firm.

Photo courtesy of CLA's Instagram page.

It’s summer intern season at public accounting firms nationwide, but the interns at top 10 firm CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) look even younger than the usual fresh-faced college students who walk the hallways and man the cubicles.

That’s because CLA last week welcomed a second cohort of high school student interns, in addition to the more than 400 college-level interns who started in early June. CLA’s paid high school internship program is providing 69 students in 14 offices with real-world experience across accounting, tax, wealth management, digital, and consulting services this summer.

With interest in an accounting career waning among college students in the U.S., CLA’s summer programs highlight the benefits of working in the profession to younger students in the hopes they pursue an opportunity in public accounting down the road.

“CLA’s internship programs provide both high school and college students with a well-rounded experience, working alongside the firm’s experienced professionals across a variety of industries,” the firm said in a media release. “Interns learn about various services and engage in professional development activities that enhance their business and leadership skills while also giving them a feel for how CLA serves its clients.”

In its second year, the 2024 CLA high school internship program received nearly 500 applications, the firm said. CLA designed its internships to provide learning experiences through mentorships and project-based learning that guides students through real-world projects like sustainable business solutions and digital finance innovation.

CLA joined forces again with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), the largest career and technical student organization in the world focused solely on business, to drive awareness and interest in its internships and the accounting profession, including exhibiting and speaking at its National Leadership Conferences in Orlando from June 24 through July 2.

“We are beyond excited to host this year’s summer interns to show the diverse array of career opportunities within accounting and professional services,” CLA CEO Jen Leary said in a statement. “At CLA, we are passionate about sharing what I and so many others at the firm love about the profession to inspire students to learn more. As we continue to grow, we see an enormous potential to disrupt the industry through the fresh thinking and technical savvy of tomorrow’s leaders. We learn so much from our interns and the students we meet through our connection with FBLA, those insights have been invaluable in helping us imagine and create a better future for accounting.”

FBLA Interim President and CEO Randy Fiser added, “We are delighted to work with CLA once again on this incredible opportunity for our members to learn what it takes to make it in the accounting and professional services industry with one of the best names in the business. As our students prepare for their careers, they are learning not only the content knowledge that will help them be successful, but the leadership and professional skills that will make them exemplary professionals and eventually business leaders.”