Auburn University at Montgomery’s College of Business will provide 126 Autauga County Technology Center (ACTC) students with a crash course in what it takes to pursue a future career path in business at AUM Friday, Nov. 8.
The group of ACTC students — representing Prattville, Autaugaville, Billingsley and Marbury high schools in Autauga County — will visit AUM’s campus from 9 to 11: 45 a.m. for the “AUM COB Talk Series,” a recruitment and professional networking event sponsored by AUM’s College of Business and School of Accountancy. Friday’s event will mark the third visit for ACTC students to AUM’s campus to learn about the university’s business degree programs and careers in business, finance and accountancy.
“We’ve coordinated this event to give high school students an opportunity to visit our campus, learn more about AUM’s College of Business programs, and network with area business professionals,” said Keren H. Deal, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Lowder-Weil Endowed Chair in AUM’s School of Accountancy. “Our goal is to help students visualize a future career path in business and also learn how they can make an impact in the Montgomery area upon graduation from high school and college.”
More than 30 area businesses, the City of Prattville, and AUM student organizations and departments have been invited to participate in the event’s Career Fair to offer professional coaching and career advice to students. Local businesses will include Aldridge, Borden & Company, P.C., BBVA Compass, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, Guardian Credit Union, Hancock Whitney Bank, Hyundai Mobis, Jackson Thornton Technologies, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Pinnacle Realty, Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, TechMGM, and Warren Averett Technology Group.
All high school students who will attend the event have some interest in majoring or minoring in a subject area within the College of Business and are currently taking business or accounting classes at ACTC — which provides instruction in technology, business, and vocational programs, said Ross N. Dickens, dean of AUM’s College of Business and professor of finance.
“We hope this event will help those high school students who have never or rarely been on a college campus to become a bit more acclimated with a university environment,” he said. “The visit also should help students learn how a business education can be valuable as well as open their eyes as to what careers are possible with a degree in business.”
While on campus, students also will be provided with information about how to enroll in college in general, and AUM specifically, Dickens said.
“We want them to know that AUM’s College of Business is a cost-efficient option to obtain an excellent business-accredited education,” he said.
The “AUM COB Talks Series” developed from a 2018 “classroom blitz campaign” by the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA) to educate Alabama high school students on careers in accounting, said Deal, who directs and coordinates AUM’s event. AUM’s College of Business joined ASCPA’s campaign because of its long history of both outreach to area high schools and businesses in the River Region, she said.
“I chose to work with the Autauga County Technology Center since I am a Prattville High School graduate and knew several of the teachers,” she said. “Through my visits to ACTC, I have developed a relationship with the business teachers, as well as helped review curriculum and develop the AUM COB Talk Series. We also have high school students who attend our Accounting Club meetings to interact with our students and faculty.”
In 2018, AUM held two campus visits with an initial group of 35 ACTC students, with that number growing to 52 students by the second visit. This year’s event is on a bigger scale with the career fair portion, Dickens said.
“We are excited to host 126 students this year” he said. “We hope to continue to expand the event to add other area high schools and use the events as a model for other area high schools and technical training centers.”