In a season when the term “signing day” conjures up images of student athletes putting on the caps or shirts of their selected colleges, prospective insurance agents in the new Property and Casualty Insurance Institute at Goodwin College marked a celebration of their own.
On May 13, students and faculty gathered at the College with regional insurance industry leaders and elected officials to sign on for a new pre-apprenticeship initiative between Goodwin and insurance organizations, designed to strengthen the state’s workforce.
“Our partnership with Goodwin College is one more way we can help grow Connecticut’s economy and create good careers through registered apprenticeship opportunities,” said State Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby. “This new, registered pre-apprenticeship institute provides a talent pipeline that will quickly and effectively train our future workforce for in-demand jobs within the insurance industry.”
The 18-credit program can be completed in just over 22 weeks and prepares students for the state licensing exam. And with more than 30 agencies in the Greater Hartford area partnered with Goodwin College, students are matched directly with potential employment opportunities right away to work with existing clients through the pre-apprenticeship institute.
“Goodwin College’s new pre-apprenticeship program will provide students with a new career path into insurance while giving them hands-on experience in the industry,” Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais said, prior to the event. “We’re excited to welcome the next generation of talent into the insurance industry.”
Guests at the event were welcome by Dr. Cliff Thermer, Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Business Development and Department Chair for Business, Management, and Advanced Manufacturing, followed by Mark Scheinberg, college president. Both remarked on the rapid development of Goodwin’s insurance institute citing the addition to the team of Kate Bolduc, a 30-year insurance industry veteran.
“When Mark first introduced Kate to our department, we weren’t quite sure what she would be doing for us,” Thermer said, “but her title — Director of Business Innovation — says it all. She and Matt Connell have been creating new partnerships and helping us look at career development in new ways.”
Connell is a Program Director and Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Goodwin. There is a strong demand for certified insurance agents who create personal relationships with customers, according to Connell. And with the current industry aging out, a new talent pipeline is going to be required to meet that demand. “This is a nationwide problem,” Connell said. “But we’re solving it here in Hartford, the insurance capital of the nation.”
“You’re helping people preserve what they have built,” Bolduc added. “You’re giving them a sense of security.”
Augusto Russell, principal of the Insurance Provider Group and past president of the Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut, commented on how this initiative would benefit Connecticut’s workforce by bringing new talent into the game.
Other dignitaries invited to speak on the new partnerships included Deputy Insurance Commissioner Joshua Hershman; Tim Larson, Executive Director, Connecticut Office of Higher Education; State Senator Matt Lesser, Connecticut General Assembly co-chair, Insurance and Real Estate Committee; and Commissioner Kurt Westby.
Karmela Malone, vice-president of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the National African American Insurance Association presented a program scholarship to student Vicky Gonzalez.
The ceremony concluded with all of the students being called forward to sign their names and pose for photos. A brief reception with the guest dignitaries followed. The event was sponsored by the Acadia Insurance Company.
Goodwin College Insurance Institute is an approved, registered pre-apprenticeship related instruction provider by the CT Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training.
For more information on the Property and Casualty Insurance Institute at Goodwin College, please contact Kate Bolduc at 860-913-2155 or KBolduc@goodwin.edu.