Rochester, NY high school students get introduction to accounting careers

The College at Brockport, in partnership with The Foundation for Accounting Education of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA), is offering the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program to about 30 area minority high school juniors, June 29 through July 2, on The College at Brockport campus. The goal of the 4-day program, in its fifth year at The College at Brockport, is to introduce minority high school students to the many facets of the accounting profession and to build skills that will help them succeed in college and the business world.

Historically, minorities have been underrepresented in the accounting profession, and the COAP program aims to increase diversity. A survey of COAP alumni has revealed that almost 100 precent of respondents have gone on to college and that 70 percent are majoring or enrolled in accounting or business programs.

Rochester-area high schools represented at this year's event include: Greece Arcadia, Freddie Thomas, School of the Arts, Edison, Gates, Monroe, John Marshal, and Greece Olympia. Instructors include representatives from the accounting firms of Eldredge Fox & Porretti and Bailey Carr and Company, as well as faculty and staff from the College at Brockport.

Students will learn about forensic accounting during a visit to the offices of Eldredge Fox and Porretti LLP, where they'll prepare mock tax returns. They'll take sessions on personal finance, investing fundamentals, networking, resume building, and other skills for college and beyond. "It never ceases to amaze me how many students come out of this going, 'Wow, I never knew accountants could do all of these things,'" said Toni Spina, chair of the COAP program and a member of Rochester’s Bailey Carr and Company. "For some of our students, the win is that they realize they truly can go to college," Spina added.

Members of the NYSSCPA Rochester Chapter Board of Directors will continue to mentor the students after the program has ended, offering to help with the college and financial aid application process. "We don’t just leave them high and dry; we like to keep tabs on them," said Spina. COAP programs will be held at 10 different colleges and universities across the state this year. More than 1,900 students have taken part in COAP programs at 10 different universities since the program was introduced in 1987.

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