“We need to focus on creating more diversity among our partners.” Great goal, right? That’s why it was met with initial enthusiasm when it was brought up at a Diversity Council meeting a few years back. However, one of our group managing partners was quick to point out that while a diverse partner group was important, that wasn’t the place to start. “Yes, we need more diversity in the partner group, but before we can do that, we need more diverse associates,” he said. “And before we can do that, we need to hire diverse entry-level candidates. That’s where we need to start.”
Recruiting for a diverse workforce starts very early. We used to think “early” meant junior year of college, but we’ve learned that’s simply not early enough. That’s why we not only focus our recruiting efforts on younger college students, but we’re also increasing our efforts with high schoolers. This way, when a student first starts thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, more and more of them are thinking, “How about an accountant?”
By reaching kids when they’re juniors and seniors in high school, when their minds are still open, we can help them understand the different places an accounting degree can take them.
The following are a few ways Plante Moran is reaching high school students:
- We participate in Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, a citywide summer jobs program providing paid work experiences for Detroit youth. We’ve hosted GDYT interns in our Detroit office from Wayne County Community College and Cass Technical High School.
- We sponsor and deliver presentations at minority-focused events in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants Leadership Conference and the Michigan and Ohio Accounting Careers Awareness Program.
- We partner with the Give Merit FATE program to develop an all-day workshop to promote financial literacy among diverse high school students in the Detroit area.
By reaching kids when they’re juniors and seniors in high school, when their minds are still open, we can help them understand the different places an accounting degree can take them. We’re opening their eyes to a world of possibilities that includes not just our firm, but everything the accounting and finance industry offers — opportunities that many don’t even realize exist. It can be a game changer in their career path.
In addition to high school recruiting initiatives, our recruiting programs help college students get a head start on a career in public accounting. One of our more successful programs is Track, a six-week internship program hosted in our Southeast Michigan, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Columbus offices. Track allows freshman and sophomore college students who are active in multicultural business organizations to experience a snapshot of life at a public accounting firm.
In another example of college recruiting, Plante Moran formed a partnership with Wayne State University to develop a diversity/inclusion program where we help the school develop a training curriculum, and Wayne State helps connect the firm with high potential students.
Finally, Plante Moran is active in a variety of multicultural organizations, including:
- The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)
- The Association of Latino Professionals in Accounting (ALPFA)
- ASCEND Pan-Asian Leaders
As competition for qualified diverse staff continues to increase, so must our recruiting efforts. Our participation in these diversity recruiting programs shows our commitment to identify, expose, train, and develop future PMers that reflect the ever-changing community we serve.