Harper College President Dr. Ender joined Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, Zurich North America Commercial CEO Mike Foley, diplomats and other business leaders on Tuesday to officially launch a first-of-its-kind U.S. apprenticeship program for the insurance industry.
The group, which also included Suzi LeVine, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and Martin Dahinden, Swiss Ambassador to the U.S., welcomed the inaugural cohort of 24 apprentices during an event at Zurich’s North American headquarters in Schaumburg.
Zurich and Harper are working together to educate and train people for careers as an insurance professionals, focused on underwriting and claims. The two-year program, which began last month, includes three days of on-the-job training at Zurich and two days of classes each week at Harper’s main campus in Palatine.
Last year, the White House awarded Harper a $2.5 million federal grant to support Apprenticeships on Demand, a new initiative that aims to integrate technical instruction and on-the-job learning to train workers in high-growth and high-demand fields including insurance, IT and manufacturing.
Officials call these apprenticeships as the ultimate “learn and earn” opportunity.
Deputy Secretary Lu said the Zurich apprenticeship is particularly innovative because it’s in a traditionally white-collar profession. Dr. Ender said there need to be more relationships between business and education with public support.
“This model is what post-secondary education has to be about in this country,” he said.
Upon completion, apprentices earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration. Zurich has committed to training at least 100 apprentices through the program by 2020.
Dr. Ender also credited Dr. Maria Coons, Vice President of Workforce and Strategic Alliances, and Dr. Rebecca Lake, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development, for helping to launch the apprenticeship programs.
For more information about Harper's apprenticeship programs, visit harpercollege.edu.
Media contact:Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159