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Introducing diverse students to accounting may help solve talent crisis

Written on Apr 13, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

When it comes to building the accounting pipeline, changing the perception of the profession is critical.  

“This is a long-term approach to solving a crisis that's been going on for a bit of time,” said John Jones, president & CEO of HOPE Toledo, a 501(c)(3) organization that helps children obtain high-quality early childhood education through pre-K and post-secondary training in college or trade schools. “This is not something that just happened overnight. And therefore, it's not going to be solved overnight.”  

Jones joined The State of Business podcast to discuss how DEI can impact the accounting pipeline and workforce development, and the role HOPE Toledo can play.  

Jones said many young people are open to what their future profession could be, but not enough are exposed to accounting to consider it a viable career. And although early exposure is important, Jones said if that doesn’t happen, “I don’t think all hope is lost if we don’t get to them in junior high. I think there’s opportunity when students enter the post-secondary arena.” 

HOPE Toledo connects the dots for students between learning about a career and seeing it as a possible reality for their profession, he said, and help students with scholarships, books and additional fees they might encounter.   

“Now there aren’t conversations about bills that aren’t paid,” he said. “Now it's about focusing on the various things that [students] can go do or become. HOPE Toledo’s perspective is to expose them to multiple areas, so that our scholars can make an educated choice.”  

In continuation of OSCPA’s commitment to help end racism and create a business environment that offers equal opportunity to all, the Board of Directors in 2022 approved a $20,000 investment in HOPE Toledo, an organization dedicated to ensuring high-quality education from preschool to post-secondary and trade school as a means of creating generational economic change for the Toledo community.   

Jones said adults have a responsibility to expose students to a myriad of opportunities, so students know they have options and can make an informed choice.  

“There's an opportunity for our kids ,” he said. “So, I would encourage those that are in the profession to consistently look at our kids as having the full potential to become whatever it is that they want to be.”  

For additional learning to increase your understanding of DEI, check out our Crossing Bridges Series in MyOSCPA.

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