EY Builds The Future Workforce By Mentoring High School And College Students

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EY has a long history of mentoring. Each year, the firm hires tens of thousands of young professionals, providing them with training and coaching – cornerstones of the EY experience. But for as long as EY has been mentoring young people within the firm, EY has also been mentoring young people in the community.  In 2009, after years of conversations with nonprofit leaders in the college access space and consulting with FSG Social Impact Advisors, EY doubled-down on its commitment to education by launching College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) in collaboration with College for Every Student (CFES). With a deliberate focus on expanding access to higher education for underserved students, College MAP is where EY’s organizational goals, the strengths and interests of EY professionals and societal need intersect.

College MAP is a multi-year, group mentoring program with active sites in 32 US cities and, as EY’s largest volunteer program, boasts a network of 900 mentors and more than 1,100 youth. The goal of the program is to empower students in underserved high schools so that they can gain access to college and succeed in higher education. College MAP matches EY volunteer mentors (of all levels, backgrounds and service lines) with groups of local high school students. The group-mentoring model has two advantages: multiple mentors provide insight and guidance to the students in the program, and the group of students becomes its own supportive and encouraging academic community.

During interactive monthly workshops, they explore various topics, which aim to develop each student’s:
  1. Awareness about the lifelong benefits of higher education by sharing real life experiences
  2. Financial readiness by demystifying the process of applying for financial aid and paying for college
  3. Persistence by providing support and coaching on the life skills that will help them graduate from college
The program is based on the acknowledgement that mentorship is essential when it comes to both finding and advancing careers for the next generation. One of the biggest obstacles for students in underserved communities especially is the complicated application process for both college admissions and financial assistance programs. With guidance from their mentors, College MAP Scholars break down the barriers between themselves and big opportunities. In fact, more than 90 percent of the program’s participants pursue higher education. Over time, those college bound students will become college graduates and young professionals.

“When I talk to colleagues in the business community, I find a shared concern and a common interest in improving the quality of education,” wrote Steve Howe, the U.S. Chairman and Managing Partner of EY, in a 2009 white paper investigating the state of public education. “I also find many opportunities for us to learn from each other about the most effective ways to help our schools achieve their potential.”

In 2013, the program began to award scholarships and has gifted $968,000 to College MAP participants to date. The success of the College MAP program is based on a unique mixture of data and personal touch. When the company teamed up with FSG back in 2009, it concluded that building a successful education initiative was reliant on six key elements: 1) CEO-level commitment, 2) expertise, 3) ability to scale, 4) willingness to adapt rather than prescribe, 5) long-term commitment and 6) accurate evaluations. In implementing College MAP, EY ticked all these boxes.

Mentors come from all lines of service at EY: 28 percent from the assurance team, 27.8 percent from the advisory team, 23.8 percent from tax, 19 percent from core business services and the remainder from transaction advisory services. But, the percentages of where the mentors are in their careers today are less intriguing than where they came from. In 2015, a third of EY employees in the US identified as first generation college graduates. The guidance that a diverse group of Mentors can provide to students is invaluable. College MAP Scholars can imagine themselves as first-generation graduates and professionals in the workforce because they can relate directly with first-gen Mentors. But they also get to see what it means to have an established college-going family tradition which helps to alter their perspective about the potential impact they’ll have on their families, generations to come.




Carolina Dominguez is the College MAP Program Manager at EY.

The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.


Education, Partnerships, Workforce Development,
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