GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., December 29, 2009 — BDO Seidman today announced the creation of the BDO Academy, a new educational and mentoring initiative designed to inspire Grand Rapids-area high school students to explore careers in the accounting profession. The launch of the annual program, which involves a recently formed partnership with Junior Achievement and the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, commemorates the 90th anniversary of the founding of BDO’s office in Grand Rapids.
The BDO Academy will provide interested area high school juniors and seniors with hands-on exposure to the profession’s required skills, day-to-day responsibilities and related job opportunities. The core components of the semester-long program will reflect key steps in a typical career progression, featuring activities in the high school classroom, office setting and college campus:
In School. Working within the framework of Junior Achievement’s “Reverse Job Shadow” program, BDO staff volunteers will visit classrooms that utilize math, accounting or technology in selected area high schools, sharing the career paths they chose, explaining their job functions and relating their work to classroom content.
In Office. BDO Academy students will spend several half-days on-site at BDO’s offices in downtown Grand Rapids – interacting with employees, learning how their school curriculum relates to BDO’s operations, and gaining hands-on exposure to the kinds of assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services BDO provides for its clients. The firm will draw on Junior Achievement’s “Job Shadow” program to help implement this component of the BDO Academy.
On Campus. Program participants will have the opportunity to audit selected accounting and business classes at GVSU’s Seidman College of Business, learning firsthand from accounting professors and students.
“The launch of the BDO Academy is an ideal way to mark BDO’s 90th year in Grand Rapids – an anniversary that is as much about looking back on our decades of service and growth as it is about our future contributions to the community,” said Matt Becker, Tax Partner at BDO Seidman. “By opening BDO’s doors to area students and sharing the different facets of a rewarding career, we hope to open an array of professional possibilities for them and help cultivate the next generation of accounting professionals.”
BDO Grand Rapids was, at its founding in 1919, the second office in what has since become a leading professional services firm comprising 38 offices in the U.S. and more than 400 independent alliance firms. Today, BDO’s Grand Rapids office is home to more than 280 professionals and staff, and is the largest accounting firm in West Michigan. BDO’s local operations include the firm’s Center for Information Management, which provides training, development, and IT support services for the BDO Seidman organization nationwide.
BDO’s new initiative will draw on Junior Achievement’s deep involvement in Grand Rapids-area schools to help facilitate the participation of area high schools and students. In keeping with its 90th anniversary theme, BDO plans to invite 90 interested students to participate in the BDO Academy’s in-office component during the upcoming spring semester.
“We are pleased to join with BDO in implementing this exciting, high-impact initiative to benefit Grand Rapids-area schools,” said Bill Coderre, president of Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes. “The BDO Academy will help fill the gap created by new graduation requirements that limit electives such as accounting and business, and provide compelling answers to age-old student questions like ‘why do I need to know this?’ and ‘how could I use this in the future?’”
James Williams, dean of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, commented: “Michigan’s business community, educators and public officials agree that we must continue to bolster the professional services sector, and find innovative ways to keep more young people focused on the educational and career opportunities available here at home. BDO Seidman is taking an admirable approach to this challenge, and we look forward to participating in this effort.”
BDO also announced the creation of an annual ‘Seidman Scholars’ scholarship for selected BDO Academy graduates who have demonstrated extraordinary academic and personal achievement in their schools, an interest in pursuing an accounting-related career, and BDO’s core values of honesty, dedication, responsibility and accountability. BDO will work with participating high schools to identify the recipients, who will each receive a scholarship to be applied toward their college or university studies. All BDO Academy participants will receive a certificate upon completing the program, as well as a stipend to cover program materials, meals and transportation..
“The Seidman Scholars program is intended to commemorate the legacy of the late Bill Seidman, our esteemed former colleague, a laureate in Junior Achievement’s West Michigan Business Hall of Fame, and one of the nation’s distinguished public servants,” concluded Matt Becker. “We trust that our scholarship recipients will emulate his integrity and accomplishments as they embark on further studies and their own professional careers.”
Local high school administrators and educators interested in learning more about the BDO Academy initiative are invited to contact BDO’s Trisha Keselring at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About BDO Seidman, LLP
BDO Seidman, LLP is a national professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. Guided by core values including, competence, honesty and integrity, professionalism, dedication, responsibility and accountability for almost 100 years, BDO Seidman provides quality service and leadership through the active involvement of our most experienced and committed professionals. As a Member Firm of BDO International, BDO Seidman, LLP serves multi-national clients by leveraging a global network of 1,095 offices in 110 countries.