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        Alumni, College, Giving

        Curating talent

        March 8, 2024 By Alice Manning Touchette

        All News


        Young alumnus creates scholarships to fill talent gaps in tech industry

        It’s a Friday in mid-winter and alumnus Jason McKinley (Information Systems Management ’17) is talking about how he and his company Arc Technologies Group are adept at finding solutions. McKinley founded his cybersecurity-first consulting firm in 2013 when he was still an undergraduate in Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business working toward his bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Management. Now, as the company expands nationally and globally, he has identified what he needs most are employees with a specific skill set.

        Jason McKinley headshot

        Jason McKinley

        “In business today, there is a huge talent gap between those who understand business, whether it is accounting or finance, and those who understand and can work with technology. These skill sets can no longer be separated,” McKinley said.

        That gap inspired him to set up two endowed scholarships with Harbert: one in the School of Accountancy, one in the Department of Business Analytics and Information Systems. The first scholarship awards will be given in the fall.

        “With these scholarships, I can help drive and support the talent that we need in the industry,” McKinley said.

        “Jason was a truly exceptional student and is now a truly exceptional alumnus, who contributes his time and talents to the Harbert College of Business,” said Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, KPMG professor and interim dean. “He is leveraging his early career success to invest meaningfully in the future generation of Harbert graduates. His gifts will inspire other young alumni to participate, in whatever capacity they can, to support the next generation.”

        Give early, get early

        Young alumni are the boots-on-the-ground workforce near to what’s happening in their industries. 

        “We’re the closest ones to the problem and can see where the actual gaps in efficiency and knowledge are,” McKinley said. “Auburn has done a lot for pretty much every student that’s walked through its doors. This is a way that I, and my fellow alumni, can drive scholarships that will impact the talent needed in the workforce.”

        “I want other young alumni to realize that the cool thing about setting up an endowment is that it’s perpetual giving that you pay for once...You can help fill the talent gaps that you are seeing in your industry by helping train the students who will join it.”

        Jason McKinley (Information Systems Management ’17) CEO + Founder Arc Technologies Group

        McKinley knows first-hand how an Auburn education can help set you up for success. While attending Auburn, he did not limit his studies, taking a lot of accounting and finance courses in addition to the courses required for his information systems management degree. 

        “My entire family are accountants, so I couldn’t escape it,” he said. “And what’s perhaps unique about Auburn is that now that I’m in the workforce, I see a surprising number of executives and other folks that are Auburn grads, and particularly within our industry. The contacts I’ve made through Auburn are incredible. The Auburn Family is everywhere! I had someone yell ‘War Eagle’ across a terminal all the way up in Boston, MA, because they saw the logo under my coat.”

        McKinley founded Arc Technologies Group in his dorm room in 2013 and has grown it into a booming consulting firm, advisory, and managed services provider focusing on serving companies in the life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, and finance sectors. Now in a place to give back, he’s helping current Auburn students start to make the connections and experiences they will need in the industry.

        “We’ve had a few students intern during their breaks. We want to teach them work ethics and mentor them to help them figure out what they’re passionate about,” he said. “If they can turn their passion into their day job, they have a really damn good shot at standing out among their peers and competitors.”

        Impact to individuals and industry

        Beyond the intern opportunities, McKinley volunteers with the Auburn University Financial Management Association and was recently named the 2023 Alumni of the Year. 

        “I had merit-based scholarships while I was in school, so I appreciate how support can make a huge difference to a student,” he said.

        “I want other young alumni to realize that the cool thing about setting up an endowment is that it’s perpetual giving that you pay for once. The value that your gift provides is not just to the students who receive the scholarship. You can help fill the talent gaps that you are seeing in your industry by helping train the students who will join it.”


        Learn more about giving to the Harbert College of Business

        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.