NEW YORK, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a broader effort to promote and support the recruitment and advancement of diverse students within the accounting profession, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) today announced it is awarding $500,000 in grants to four universities. The four schools - Bryant University, the University of Southern California, Wake Forest University and Florida International University - will use the funds for scholarships and hands-on career exploration programs for students from groups that have historically been underrepresented in the accounting field, including African-Americans/blacks, Latinos and Native-Americans. The initiative is part of PwC's broader efforts to identify, attract and develop talent and foster an inclusive culture.
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The PwC grants expand existing programs to address a need to attract and develop more diverse talent in the accounting profession. As of 2008, the latest data available, African-Americans/blacks represented only four percent of public accounting professionals at all career levels and Latinos represented just five percent, according to the "Minorities in Tax 2010" report from TaxDiversity.com.
"We want to open the eyes and minds of diverse students - many of whom might not have previously considered accounting - to the exciting opportunities that a career in the profession offers," says Niloufar Molavi, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "By supporting programs that expose more students from underrepresented groups to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the world of accounting, we're that much closer to maximizing the talent pool."
PricewaterhouseCoopers has been working closely with accounting faculty and administrators at each of the four universities to determine the most effective use of the grants, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of diverse students who enter the profession. The firm is also focused on building awareness of the need for diversity among all professionals and students, and promoting education and support for these efforts across the entire student and faculty population. The programs being implemented vary by school, highlighted by the following:
- Bryant University - $150,000 for a three-year extension of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Accounting Careers Leadership Institute (PwCACLI), a week-long, hands-on immersion program for diverse high school juniors to learn about the accounting profession and its key role in society. Students will work directly with Bryant faculty, staff and students, as well as PwC professionals, to gain valuable experience and insight into accounting careers.
- The University of Southern California - $150,000 for funding of PwC scholarships for diverse students entering the USC Leventhal School of Accounting Masters Programs. Grant funds will also be used to actively recruit students from historically black colleges, as well as diverse students from other schools.
- Wake Forest University - $150,000 for multi-year funding of PwC scholarships for diverse students entering the Master of Science in Accountancy program. The grant will also establish and support a summer seminar to increase awareness of the accounting profession among diverse regional high school students and incoming freshmen.
- Florida International University - $50,000 to initiate a six-day residency program aimed at diverse community college students who are interested in accounting careers. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of U.S. higher education, serving more than 11.7 million students, 30 percent of whom are African-American, Latino or Native American, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. The FIU program was designed with the unique community college transfer environment in mind.
"PricewaterhouseCoopers has long been an ally in advancing the accounting profession as a challenging but rewarding career path for students of all backgrounds. Increasing the diversity and inclusion at the Wake Forest Schools of Business is one of our key objectives, and the types of programs that will be funded through these PwC grants will not only be beneficial to our school and our students, but to the entire accounting profession," says Steve Reinemund, Dean of Business, Wake Forest University, and Retired Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
"PwC and Bryant have a long history of working together to open doors and create opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds," adds Ronald Machtley, President of Bryant University. "PwCACLI is shaping tomorrow's business leaders by enabling participants to learn from accomplished educators and professionals in both academic and business settings."
Impact is the firm's educational community program that helps academically accomplished African-American/black high school students navigate the rigorous college planning and financial aid process and gain admission into some of the nation's premier colleges and universities. There are currently 225 African American/black high school students in six major U.S. cities participating. Recent graduates were accepted into 60 colleges and offered average financial aid packages of $24,000 by those schools.
PwC eXplore is a unique early talent identification program that seeks to attract diverse underclassmen - even those from study majors outside of business - into the field of accounting. The program uses an interactive curriculum to educate students about opportunities in accounting and exposes them to successful PwC professionals who serve as role models. In fiscal year 2010, PwC is hosting 15 programs nationally, reaching approximately 600 diverse freshmen and sophomores.
For more information on PwC's diversity commitment, visit www.pwc.com/diversity.
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