Unique Community Effort Brings Accounting Education to Classroom

In a unique collaboration, the Indiana CPA Society, Junior Achievement, college student interns and CPAs will work together to bring accounting education to elementary and middle school students in central Indiana.

The internship program will involve Junior Achievement of Central Indiana and its Exchange City program. This JA program was developed to reverse the trend of students' lack of basic understanding of business, economics and the free enterprise system while fostering the job and life skills needed for their future careers and success. Exchange City is a hands-on learning program that combines an eight-week classroom curriculum with a state-of-the-art interactive simulation that gives students the real life experience of running a community that includes everything from businesses to government.

The interns will work collectively with JA's curriculum developers to create an accounting, business development and career development program curriculum to be presented by CPAs that will be used in conjunction with Exchange City. The interns will also create a vehicle to implement the curriculum beginning in the fall of 2003. Currently more than 20 Exchange City programs nationwide are in operation and plans call for the intern's curriculum to be distributed to all of them. The curriculum may also be used in other school programs by INCPAS and other state CPA societies.

The Society is currently in the process of interviewing college candidates for the summer internship. Two college Beta Alpha Psi (accounting honorary fraternity) students will be hired to work at the Society and JA offices during the duration of the internship - from early June through early August. The partnership may also lead to other joint initiatives between INCPAS and JA. The Society is looking to expand its career development activities beyond the high school and college levels.

Indianapolis' JA Exchange City program has been in existence since the fall of 1995. Although there are more than 20 Exchange Cities operating around the country, several more programs are in the planning stages. Begun 20 years ago, Exchange City is an innovative economic education simulation lab designed to culminate JA's elementary school program for the fifth and sixth grade levels. Students actually run a city, confronting real-life examples and issues, while gaining practical experience in economic and entrepreneurial concepts. Approximately 12,000 students will visit the Indianapolis Exchange City this year.

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