As Ohio insurers work to backfill an expected 29,000 insurance openings by 2024, some are expanding their potential talent pool by starting with middle school students.
Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, headquartered in Bucyrus, recently welcomed eighth-graders from around Crawford County as part of a daylong career program called Workforce Awareness for Graduates and Educators (WAGE). Sponsored by Crawford: 20/20 Vision's Business Success & Job Availability Action Team, the program exposes students and teachers to local businesses with the goal of helping them understand career pathways available.
While WAGE includes events for high school students, "for the past four or five years, we've had local eighth-grade students visit Ohio Mutual," says Todd Boyer, Ohio Mutual's assistant vice president of corporate communications. "Students spend the day visiting a number of the major employers in the county, including Ohio Mutual, and we have members of our company's leadership team speak with them about the variety of jobs and skills needed in our industry."
Crawford County entities like Ohio Mutual and WAGE are not alone in bringing middle schoolers to the career table. An increasing number of middle schools are looking for ways to teach students about college and career options. In fact, Ohio schools are now required to provide career advising to students beginning in the sixth grade. According to Tisha Lewis, career connections administrator at the Ohio Department of Education, "Children are most successful in school and life when they see a link between what they're learning in school and their future. Introducing students to career awareness and exploration, even as early as kindergarten, sets a foundation for success."
In Crawford County, the opportunities for insurance careers are plentiful. In fact, more people are employed in insurance careers there than would be expected otherwise, according to a 2016 workforce development report commissioned by the Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC).
"Many of these jobs are ones most people wouldn't expect," Boyer says.
In fact, one of the industry's biggest challenges is dispelling myths surrounding the types of jobs available. With 10 new insurance programs now offered at Ohio colleges and universities, IIRC members continue to work with educators in getting the word out about the opportunities and adding Ohioans to the insurance career pipeline. Starting in middle school just makes sense.
Find out more about how to make career connections for students at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Career-Tech/Career-Connections.
Find out more about the many career pathways in insurance at http://insurancecareers.org/students.
For more information, visit insuringohiofutures.com or to become a member, contact Jaya Yoo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IIRC is funded by:
Celina Insurance Group
Central Mutual Insurance Company
The Cincinnati Insurance Company
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Molina Healthcare of Ohio
Motorists Insurance Group
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Ohio Insurance Agents Association, Inc.
Ohio Mutual Insurance Group
State Auto Insurance Company of Ohio
Wayne Insurance Group
Westfield Insurance Company