ACAP shows students careers in accounting really add up

Posted | August 2, 2018

The accountants of the future may have started their careers last month. The Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP), which recently took place at the University of Louisville, introduced primarily minority ninth through 12th graders to the field of accounting. Its main objective is to increase the number of high school students from under-represented ethnic groups that attend college and major in accounting.

Mimi Kelly, manager of Billing Integrity for LG&E and KU (center left) and Senior Accounting Analyst Tywana Comer (center right) participate in a round table discussion with ACAP students at the University of Louisville. 

ACAP KY, which is part of the national ACAP program, is celebrating its 21st year in Louisville. Sponsored by UofL and the National Association of Black Accountants, the program allows high school students to spend an all-expense-paid week at the UofL College of Business, where they learn about diverse careers in accounting.
During the summer campus residency program, the select group of students has the opportunity to explore careers in accounting and business via a rigorous class and study schedule, college-level content and valuable networking opportunities. ACAP introduces the students to accounting, finance, economics, technology and management. Business leaders share their knowledge, provide tips for success and discuss educational opportunities. Students experience accounting first-hand through tours of local certified public accounting firms and companies in the private sector. The program concludes with a recognition luncheon for students, parents, speakers and corporate partners.

In addition to the business curriculum, students participate in fun team-building and evening activities, workshops about communication skills, etiquette and career development. Students also work on a group project that includes making a presentation. ACAP is a pipeline from high school to college that helps students become better prepared for college life. Just as importantly for local businesses, like LG&E and KU, the program can be a resource for developing future accounting talent.

Students tour LG&E and KU's Ohio Falls Generating Station in Louisville as part of ACAP's career exploration curriculum. 

This year 30 students attended ACAP, and LG&E and KU representatives participated in a number of activities for the students, including an accounting career roundtable discussion attended by Senior Accounting Analyst Tywana Comer, Accounting Analyst III Lance Gardner, Manager of Billing Integrity Mimi Kelly and Sourcing Lead II Sherrie Whitaker.

According to William Woodard, manager of Material Services and Logistics, who has been involved with the program for five years, the students uniformly point to the tour of the Ohio Falls Generating Station as one of the most fascinating parts of the program. Individuals who provided tours of the facility were: 

  • Marty Downs, turbine operator-mechanic
  • Dennis Lipsey, turbine operator-mechanic
  • Joe Massey, contractor, Ohio Falls
  • Bob Miles, I & E technician A
  • Aaron Smith, auxiliary turbine operator-mechanic
  • Brian Speer, I & E technician A
  • Damon Tiffany, auxiliary turbine operator-mechanic
  • Gary Young, I & E technician A

"The program provides an excellent overview of the many different environments in which accountants can work," Woodard said. "Accounting offices are just one. Business operations rely on accountants to keep track of day-to-day transactions and projects in the field, like the work that occurs at Ohio Falls. It's eye-opening for students to see that accountants are an integral part of the team that keeps a business like ours operating smoothly and innovating to provide low-cost energy and excellent service."