Seton Hall and Withum Launch Apprenticeship Program for Aspiring Accounting Students

Seton Hall University and Withum have announced a pilot program aimed to ease the burden of fulfilling the 150 credit hours requirement for accounting students. The CPA Pathway Apprenticeship supports the AICPA and NASBA’s initiative to help alleviate barriers for students considering a career in public accounting. This program gives students the opportunity to earn the extra credits needed to hold their Certified Public Accounting license upon passing the exam, gain first-hand public accounting work experience and receive compensation during their final year of school. This is the second partnership between a university and a firm to provide students with a CPA curriculum-driven work experience for college credit.

“We truly value Withum’s partnership and investment in this innovative apprenticeship model and the Seton Hall accounting talent pipeline,” said Mary Kate Naatus, Ph.D., Assistant Provost and Dean of Continuing Education and Professional Studies at Seton Hall University. “The combination of a strong curriculum with excellent faculty members with the real world ‘work for credit’ experience on-site at Withum is an exemplary model that mutually benefits the students, industry partner and the broader accounting field.”

Students will be full-time apprentice-level team members at Withum, with an opportunity to work in all service lines and industries while earning credits for their curriculum-driven experience alongside university coursework to fulfill the remaining credits needed to reach the credits hour requirement to hold a CPA license. The students may also sit for the CPA exam during the program, affording them the opportunity to become licensed CPAs by the time they start their accounting career as full-time, entry-level Staff I team members at the Firm.

During a time when the war on talent remains at an all-time high in the accounting industry, the CPA Pathway Apprenticeship is a solution to expose emerging talent to the day-to-day life of an accounting professional at Withum. This one-year pilot program aligns with the AICPA’s Pipeline Acceleration Plan, which focuses on addressing the talent shortage through a variety of changes, including a paramount focus on partnering with educational institutions to expand the talent pool.

“The CPA Pathway Apprenticeship Program is an exciting new venture that will benefit both the firm and the students,” said Theresa Richardson, chief talent officer at Withum. “By getting real-life experience as a team member at Withum, students will be that much further ahead of their peers as they approach the job market. And, by exposing new talent to our unique benefits and culture, we can jumpstart long-lasting careers right here.” Richardson consulted with Dan Geltrude when researching how to create a program like this for Withum. Geltrude, founder of Geltrude & Co., was a driver in creating a similar program with PricewaterhouseCoopers and an NJ-based liberal arts institution.

“We are proud to partner with Withum on a groundbreaking initiative that empowers aspiring accounting students with invaluable real-life experience while they pursue their academic goals,” said Joyce Strawser, Ph.D., dean of Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. “As we join hands with Withum to address the talent shortage in the accounting industry, the CPA Pathway Apprenticeship Program embodies our shared commitment to fostering a diverse, skilled, and vibrant accounting profession. Together, we are paving the way for an exciting and rewarding career path for our students.”

Aiysha (AJ) Johnson, CEO and executive director of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA), is equally excited about this endeavor, “The NJCPA applauds Seton Hall University for collaborating with Withum, one of New Jersey’s most forward-thinking advisory and accounting firms, to create an innovative path forward for aspiring accounting professionals and the industry as a whole. The CPA license is critical to upholding the quality and value of the profession and earning it can open the door to many different career opportunities. This program will support students, proactively expand avenues to entry and help students build the fundamental skills needed to become a CPA.”

Five Seton Hall students were selected to participate in the program, which will begin in September 2023. Among those students is Amaury Flores, who said, “Everyone knows how hard it is to obtain the CPA certification, and with this program, I am substantially closer to obtaining the certification. With the help of Seton Hall University and Withum, I can now continue my academic career with the people who helped me get here.”

With a passion to see the accounting field thrive with new talent, Seton Hall University’s Chair of the Accounting Department, Mark Holtzman, C.P.A., Ph.D., and fellow faculty member, Danielle DiMeglio, M.B.A, worked diligently to create a promising partnership with Withum and developed the academically driven program for accounting professionals.

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