26 students from area high schools got a taste of the corporate world, when they participated in a half-day session focused on their career future in the field of finance. Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers partnered with nonprofit Diversity Awareness Partnership to create and present “Explore Accounting,” a program focused on introducing students of color to the industry.
The students applied individually to the program and ranged from grades ten to twelve. They spent a half-day participating in games and discussions focused on topics that included what an accountant’s life is like and how an individual can build a career.
Erin Mann, a senior at Webster Groves High School and self-described "people person," was surprised to learn how the job can go beyond just sitting at a desk.
“The only thing that turned me off about accounting initially is the thought that I wouldn’t be able to interact with people," she says about considering accounting as a career possibility." Knowing that I’m going to be traveling and meeting people and face to face with clients – that is big for me.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers assurance partner Miles Mooney sees the program as a way to create a pipeline for diversity among the industry. He referenced that that only 6 percent of accountants at his firm are African American.
“I think a lot of high school students have no idea what an accountant is, so we’re trying to look into the high school ranks to say ‘this is what we do,’" he says. "Make it a career field that has more awareness associated with it, and hopefully that will carry with them – it won’t with all – but maybe carry with them into college as they pick that degree and that major.”
The students will meet again in May to discuss resume building and internships.
Follow Erin Williams on Twitter: @STLPR_Erin