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Aon and Zurich Insurance call for industry-wide apprenticeship initiative

Staff writer |
Aon and Zurich North America are calling on Chicago’s top leaders in the insurance and financial services sector to create apprenticeship programs.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu and leaders of Aon and Zurich made the case to senior executives from a variety of Chicago-based insurance and financial services companies about the benefits of developing an industry apprenticeship program.

“There is a lot of talk about the skills gap of individual workers, but as business leaders, we need to step up and fill the training gap,” said Aon President & CEO Greg Case.

“We’re investing in apprenticeships because they will help us harness untapped potential and create the future leaders for our sector.”

Aon is building on its existing partnership with City Colleges of Chicago and will launch its Chicago-based apprenticeship program in January 2017. Aon apprentices will be trained for roles at the core of the business, in account management, client support, financial analysis, and technology.

"We are seeing increasing recognition from a number of companies in the financial services sector that apprenticeship programs are a powerful way to build a robust, industry-wide talent pipeline," said Mike Foley, CEO North America Commercial and Regional Chairman of North America for Zurich Insurance.

"Our industry is facing a widening skills and training gap, so we need to be more proactive in attracting talent and guiding their development through hands on experience."

“Two years ago, President Obama issued a bold challenge to double the number of Registered Apprenticeships within five years. The Department of Labor is committed to working with industry leaders to build a national movement that fortifies apprenticeships as a fully-recognized path for recruitment and training,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu.

“We commend Aon and Zurich for convening today’s roundtable and their leadership on building a stronger financial services and insurance workforce in Chicago.”

Apprenticeship programs offer a combination of structured education and business experience to students, while providing businesses with a new pool of talent specifically trained for their needs.

Through a well-defined apprenticeship program, businesses gain skilled employees already accustomed to the company’s culture, while students emerge with a post-secondary education, work experience, and full-time employment.

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