KPMG and National Academy Foundation Advance Opportunities for Youth
Meghan Bracken is the national director of corporate citizenship for KPMG.
Photo Credit: National Academy Foundation
Workforce readiness is one of the biggest challenges facing corporate America, and the gaps are most evident among low-income youth from underserved communities. To help close these gaps, KPMG LLP has teamed up with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to help ensure these young people learn the vital skills necessary for success.
With funding from the KPMG Foundation, KPMG joined with NAF in July 2011 to strengthen the nationwide high school accounting courses at its Academies of Finance, launching pilot programs in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.
The Academies of Finance offer rigorous, career-themed curricula created using current industry and educational expertise. KPMG’s work with NAF focuses on its accounting curriculum, and includes opportunities for KPMG employees to share their knowledge and provide students with work-based learning experiences like job shadowing, mock interviews, guest speaking, and resume/portfolio reviews.
In just over a year, KPMG’s collaboration with NAF has proven popular with the KPMG volunteers and, most importantly, the students. Here are a few recent examples of how KPMG volunteers are working with NAF students.
In Atlanta, a group of KPMG volunteers visited students in the NAF Entrepreneurship class at the city’s Dunwoody High School. Led by Audit Partner Aubrey Harrell, they engaged the students in a full day’s worth of activities, including doing a presentation on the recruiting process; sharing “day-in-the-life” job descriptions of all three of KPMG’s businesses (Audit, Tax, and Advisory); conducting an interactive consulting case study; and holding a lively question and answer session.
Students asked questions about the education, skill sets, lifestyles, and client interaction required of professionals in a Big Four accounting firm. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to discuss their career goals one-on-one with the volunteers.
“By engaging our future business leaders in exciting career opportunities, hopefully we’ve planted the seed that will enable us to continue to build a pipeline of ambitious young professionals for KPMG,” said Harrell.
KPMG’s Hartford office hosted a team of students and their accounting teacher from the city’s Insurance and Finance academy, High School, Inc. KPMG’s Hartford managing partner, Rich Caporaso, and Audit Partner Carrie Casciani, who leads the office’s NAF efforts, welcomed the students and joined Audit Partner Jeff Podziewski and Audit Senior Associates Sheriann Wirkkala and Colby Ladd in teaching the students about public accounting in general and KPMG itself, and how they can start to develop the skills they’ll need to start a career at a Big Four firm.
The students left the office with a better understanding of the field as well as a “summer fun” package as a memento.
A group of young people studying International Finance at Miami’s Edison High School, accompanied by a teacher from the school, spent a day at KPMG’s Miami office. Audit Manager Daniel Zamora led the group in a teaching session, which was followed by a challenge put to the students: Groups of five researched pertinent KPMG topics (the firm’s history, diversity and inclusion initiatives, corporate responsibility, and leadership), then presented their findings to the group.
The KPMG volunteers enjoyed their time with the students, and by all accounts, the feeling was mutual.