Thirty CPAs under the age of 36 are meeting in Durham, N.C. today, kicking off a three day intensive retreat for the American Institute of CPAs second annual Leadership Academy.

The young crew will spend three days in workshops and discussion at the Washington Duke Inn near Duke University. Last year, the event was held in Chicago.

The competition to get into the Academy is fierce as more than 120 candidates who were sponsored by their employers or state societies applied. All applicants submitted resumes that included professional volunteer activities, community service and awards, in addition to employment history. The participants are equally divided between men and women and represent all four of the Institute’s major membership segments: public accounting, business and industry, government and academia.

Participants will hear from Tom Hood, executive director of the Maryland Association of CPAs, Anthony Pugliese, senior vice president at the AICPA of finance, membership and operations, and Scott Spiegel, the AICPA’s chief financial officer.

The event runs through Oct. 7. After participants graduate from the Academy,  they will receive either an appointment to an AICPA volunteer committee or state CPA society committee in their home state.