Most high school students wouldn’t raise their hands and answer “insurance” when asked what industry do they want to work. But maybe they should. An insurance career is not only challenging and rewarding, it’s also in-demand and offers higher than average wages. High school students have started to recognize the opportunity. Charlotte High School (CHS) students will now be able to take that first step toward a career in the growing insurance industry by taking an insurance course while earning free college credits, thanks to a new partnership between Olivet College and Charlotte Public Schools (CPS).
The insurance industry is facing a shortage of young talent. Nearly 40 percent of the insurance industry’s workforce in Michigan is 55 and older and will retire by 2020*. Olivet College, a national leader in insurance education, is working to replenish the insurance industry’s workforce by partnering with local school districts throughout the state to educate the next generation of leaders.
“There is a such a huge need for professionals in the insurance industry. It’s our goal at Olivet College to start students out early thinking about a career in insurance,” said Tom Humphreys, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, CIC, director, The Risk Management and Insurance Center and assistant professor, Insurance, Risk Management and Financial Planning at Olivet College. “We want to set students up for a successful future. While they are still in high school, we can give students insight into what insurance really does, and how the industry offers great opportunities.”
On Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, Dr. Maria Davis, provost and dean at Olivet College, presented a new partnership to the CPS board of education. As part of this new collaboration, students enrolled in CHS’s Insurance and Risk Management II class will have the opportunity to earn three college credits from Olivet College. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in insurance industry and career-building activities hosted at Olivet College.
Chad Little, the CHS business teacher who helped bring this opportunity to Charlotte, will be the dual credit course instructor. Olivet College joins Ferris State University, Lansing Community College, Davenport University and Michigan State University in providing CHS students with post-secondary credits at no cost to parents and families while also helping them reach the ultimate goal of college and career readiness. This new partnership creates yet another pathway for CHS students, leading to success in high school and beyond.
“Charlotte Public Schools is very pleased to be partnering with Olivet College to provide enhanced educational opportunities for our students. The partnership allows our students to gain college credit while still in high school. This is an outstanding benefit to our students and the families we serve. It shows a commitment to higher education and is another example of collaboration in the best interest of our youth,” said Mark Rosekrans, superintendent of Schools at Charlotte Public Schools.
The new course, “Principles of Property and Casualty Insurance,” will be offered starting spring 2017. Students sign up for a business course in the fall which will then be followed up with this insurance course in the spring. Students will participate in field trips to local insurance companies to learn more about the industry. Students will also have the option of taking an additional two Insurance and Risk Management courses through Eaton Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) to earn a total of nine Olivet College credits. For the past six years, Olivet College has partnered with Eaton RESA to offer this insurance program to high school students. Olivet College continues to expand this model with school districts across the state.
Olivet College’s insurance curriculum, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, is well known and highly respected across the country. Students who graduate from Olivet College with a bachelor’s degree in Insurance and Risk Management and want a good paying job in the insurance field, can get one. A quarter of the projected May 2017 graduates have already signed and accepted job offers; and nearly 100 percent of those who seek jobs in the insurance field will be employed within a few months of graduation.
“Olivet is taking a methodical approach to expanding this program. We are looking for key partners that have interest in the program first. In fact, we are currently in discussion with other school districts statewide,” said Humphreys. “Our goal is to grow the high school insurance program by three to six school districts in 2017. Most of the school districts we’ve talked to like that we’ve already developed the curriculum and materials and that they don’t have to create it themselves. Parents and students like the program because students can get college credits, and employment potential is greater if they continue on this career path.”