AICPA apprenticeship program receives grant from Maryland Department of Labor

By Bryan Strickland

The Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners is preparing to welcome its first group of apprentices after receiving a grant of nearly $120,000 from the Maryland Department of Labor on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Labor previously approved the apprenticeship program, an initiative launched by the AICPA in November 2021. Wednesday's grant will cover instruction-related costs for a minimum of 25 apprentices beginning this fall.

"This apprenticeship is an exciting partnership with the AICPA and the State of Maryland to support more Marylanders, both those seeking to enter the accounting and finance profession and those businesses in need of more talent in this critical area," Rebekah Brown, CPA, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, said in a news release.

Maryland is the first state in which the AICPA has registered its apprenticeship, according to the news release. The program, the nation's first registered apprenticeship program specifically for the accounting and finance profession, provides a unique opportunity for employees and employers alike.

"The battle for talent is increasing, making the need for more skilled accounting and finance talent even more pressing," said Tom Hood, CPA/CITP, CGMA, executive vice president–Business Engagement & Growth at the AICPA. "Our apprenticeship combines a world-class learning program with mentorship and on-the-job training, which helps employers recruit and grow their own, providing the kind of workplace the 21st century workforce expects — diverse, inclusive, collaborative, and innovative."

For participating employers, the program provides financial incentives and access to administrative resources designed to save time and money. For participating employees, the program creates a new path for those looking to pursue a career in accounting and finance.

The apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job training and mentorship at the employer's site, and the AICPA will provide apprentices with online, structured learning through the CGMA Finance Leadership Program.

"Apprenticeships offer an opportunity to 'earn while you learn,' meaning that employees study the CGMA Finance Leadership Program and receive on-the-job training while also earning a living," said Joanne Fiore, vice president–Pipeline and Apprenticeships, CGMA Americas at the AICPA.

Fiore discussed the apprenticeship program earlier this year on the JofA podcast.

"Apprenticeships help build a more inclusive accounting and finance team by widening the aperture of candidates to consider," Fiore said in the news release. "Not every candidate has to have all the skills, experience and education upfront, because the apprenticeship provides the opportunity to gain them."

The program is available to new hires and incumbent employees as well as those with four-year degrees and those earning two-year degrees.

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Bryan Strickland at Bryan.Strickland@aicpa-cima.com.

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