The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) on Tuesday announced a strategic education initiative aimed at exposing students to accounting careers, attracting greater diversity and representation within the profession, and removing barriers to entry for underrepresented and underserved groups.
The CAQ, which is affiliated with the AICPA, expects the program to play an important role in the profession’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
In the fall, the program will begin by providing accounting career resources to teachers and students with a focus on increasing the diversity of students choosing to major in accounting. In the spring semester, the program will expand into an interactive digital experience for students across the country, giving them access to an education that exposes them to careers in the profession.
The CAQ’s goal is for the program to be used in at least 1,000 schools this school year and 3,000 schools in the 2023-2024 school year, according to a press release.
“We strive to close the diversity gap that exists within our profession,” said Liz Barentzen, Vice President, Operations and Talent Initiatives at the CAQ, in the press release. “Now, through a national curriculum, we are able to reach the next generation of accounting professionals and ensure students can see themselves in this growing profession. We are committed to making accounting more accessible and cultivating fair representation in the field. »
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76.3% of accountants and auditors employed in the United States are white. While the profession has made strides towards increasing DEI – through programs such as Accounting+ and the CAQ’s Bold Ambition – industry professionals have recognized the gap in the provision of educational opportunities and career resources for students in underserved communities.
This initiative is part of a strategic partnership between the CAQ and EVERFI, a social impact education company, to offer quality programming on accounting careers.
“It’s important that students see themselves and feel represented in the careers they can pursue,” said Ray Martinez, president and co-founder of EVERFI, in a press release. “Reaching students before they leave high school with career exploration resources is critical.”
The CAQ will also sponsor a scholarship competition, awarding $50,000 in college scholarships for the current academic year and $75,000 for the 2023-2024 academic year.
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