Paradise Valley Community College: Partnership With Jackson Hewitt and Fresh Start to Build the Accounting and Tax Preparation Workforce

Cecile Babich Morrow
Member Spotlight

In anticipation of the coming tax season, Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) in Phoenix, Arizona, is partnering with Jackson Hewitt and Fresh Start Women’s Foundation to expand the pool of highly qualified tax preparers. This strategic alliance between education, business, and nonprofit partners gives students the opportunity to acquire in-demand job skills and offers guaranteed interviews at Jackson Hewitt for PVCC students and Fresh Start women who successfully complete the Enrolled Agent (EA) program. 

PVCC’s EA program Certificate of Completion (CCL) prepares students for the Enrolled Agent Examination. Enrolled agents' expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers at all administrative levels within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Students who successfully complete this CCL may also seek employment as tax professionals.

“I am pleased to announce our alliance with Jackson Hewitt and Fresh Start Women’s Foundation,” said Dr. Tiffany E. Hunter, PVCC President. She continued,

This program will position our highly qualified students for careers in tax, serve industry’s need for trained talent, and strengthen the local economy. As the second largest accounting firm in the country, Jackson Hewitt is providing an opportunity for our students and Fresh Start women to acquire job skills and immediately interview with an industry leader and to put those skills to work.

As global markets continue to grow and develop, industry’s finance and accounting needs evolve as well. Accounting is mission-critical to business success and up-to-date job skills will continue to be in demand by employers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022), the tax preparation career field is expected to grow by 6 percent from 2021 to 2031.

Lee Cunningham, a local Phoenix Jackson Hewitt General Manager, noted that,

Now is a great time to pursue a career as a tax professional, so we could not be more thrilled to partner with PVCC and Fresh Start. Our industry continues to grow and develop, which means we can offer exciting career opportunities to PVCC students and Fresh Start women. This is especially true during the coming tax season. Tax preparation work is seasonal from December to the end of April and features flexible full- or part-time employment opportunities.

Fresh Start CEO Kim McWaters said,

We are immensely grateful for the partnership with PVCC and Jackson Hewitt. This alliance, with both a strong education partner and employer, gives the women Fresh Start serves a direct route to acquiring in-demand job skills and pursuing a new career path. We know that you can lift a woman up by giving her access to education and job skills that will allow her to earn self-sufficient wages and support her family. That shift positively impacts her life, her children, and generations to come.

“With the current shortage of well-trained talent in the accounting industry and no foreseen slowdown in the demand for tax professionals, the Enrolled Agent program is a great opportunity for students to . . . make an immediate impact,” said Lynn Clark, PVCC Accounting Program Director and Certified Public Accountant. She further noted that, “An enrolled agent is a federally licensed tax professional, and it is the highest credential awarded by the IRS. In just 12 to 18 months, students can complete the EA certificate and immediately begin a career in tax.”

The EA program is eligible for U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, offering support for the unemployed or underemployed. This means that students may qualify through WIOA to fully fund their program tuition.

Click here to learn more about PVCC’s alliance with Jackson Hewitt.

Click here to learn more about PVCC’s alliance with Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. 

For more information, contact Dr. Brianna DeGeus, PVCC’s Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022). Occupational outlook handbook: Accountants and auditors.

Dr. Cecile Babich Morrow is Alumni Engagement Coordinator at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.