Innovative state program, Bakker Insurance, Renaissance Alliance and Goodwin College tackle the insurance talent gap
Peter M. Bakker Agency was awarded the first insurance agency apprenticeship by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training. The insurance agency apprenticeship program is an initiative by the state to foster the attraction and placement of new talent into the CT insurance agency industry, one of the state’s largest employer segments.
President of Bakker Agency, John Maschi, says that the agency is honored to participate in this important program, citing recruitment and training of the next generation as a key priority for the insurance industry. “It’s important for young people and students to be aware of what a healthy and promising job sector the insurance industry is, offering a wide spectrum of secure jobs with great earning potential – and the independent agency segment is booming!” He credits Bakker Vice President of Operations Meredith Messenger for the Bakker Agency apprenticeship, which came about through her efforts working in coordination with Todd G. Berch, Program Manager, CT Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship Training and Kathleen Lynch Bolduc, Senior Director, Workforce Development and Innovation School of Business, Management and Advanced Manufacturing, Goodwin College.
Through this program, Sally Ruelli was hired by Bakker as the first full-time insurance agency apprentice funded by the state. Ruelli had completed an 18-credit pre-apprenticeship Insurance Sales Certificate Program offered by Goodwin College, East Hartford, CT. Her apprenticeship at Bakker is a structured program in which she is being rotated among the several operational units within the agency to gain a full spectrum training in how insurance and insurance agencies work to serve the needs of their policyholders. It’s a year-long commitment, with a goal that she will potentially transition to a more permanent role within the agency.
In conjunction with National Apprenticeship week, The Bakker Agency and Ruelli were recognized at the Connecticut State Apprenticeship Council meeting 11/14. Seven new candidates in the pre-apprenticeship program were also named.
Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said that while apprenticeships are more frequently associated with manufacturing and trades, Connecticut programs are evolving to include training in the professional sectors as well.
“Connecticut’s apprenticeship programs have grown 40 percent in the last five years, and have produced the most registered apprenticeships per-capita in New England,” Westby said. “This first in-state insurance initiative focusing on one of our largest and most critical industry segments breaks new ground, and I thank both the Bakker Agency and Goodwin College for working with us to pioneer this effort.”
Messenger says that, “As a member of Renaissance Alliance Insurance Services, we see the potential for expanding the apprenticeships to other agency members in the state. And our message to young people everywhere – think independent insurance agencies! They offer great jobs in smaller entrepreneurial environments and provide vital services to local communities.”
About the parties involved in the insurance agency apprenticeship:
Peter M Bakker Agency is an independent property casualty insurance agency serving all of Connecticut. It is the CT-based hub of Renaissance Alliance Insurance Services.
Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training provides a portable training credential. In Connecticut, more than 3,400 employers and labor/ management committees employ over 4,500 apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. It was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.
Renaissance Alliance Insurance Services is a membership alliance for independent agencies specialized in property and casualty insurance.