The financial planning industry is in need of young talent. Is a new scholarship program the answer?

TD Ameritrade Institutional has awarded a total of $50,000 in scholarships to 10 students enrolled in undergraduate financial planning programs, and plans to invest a total of $1 million in scholarships over the next decade.

The goal: attract new talent to the industry as the current generation of older advisors near retirement.

Despite the talent shortage, the industry is poised for growth. The projected growth rate for financial advisors in the decade ending 2020 is 32%, compared with 14% for all occupations, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That translates to 66,000 new financial advisor jobs.

Research by Cerulli Associates, meanwhile, shows that demand for financial advice is expected to rise as investors hurt by the 2008 financial crisis seek professionals to help navigate the market. The research indicates that a growing share of investors have been migrating to independent registered investment advisors and financial planners.

Even so, financial planning is not a popular career choice among students, according to a recent survey by the National Society of High School Scholars.

This scholarship program may encourage more students to pursue the profession, and more colleges and universities to offer degree programs in the field, says TD Ameritrade President Tom Nally. (Read: 25 Great Schools for Financial Planners.)

“Financial advisors have the potential to make a huge difference in a client’s life by providing them with confidence about their finances,” says scholarship winner Kelsey Brooks, a college senior at the University of Georgia.

Explaining her rationale for pursuing a career in financial advice, she says: "I want to help people. My sister is a nurse, but I cannot handle blood and I do not want to be responsible for a person’s physical life. Instead, I want to make them feel financially secure and help them achieve their life goals. I also enjoy building relationships with people as well as solving problems."

See a video interview with one of TD Ameritrade's 10 scholarship winners.

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