California Connects Workers to Insurance Careers

July 7, 2006

A coalition of insurance companies, community colleges and workforce development specialists have started a statewide insurance education program, called the California Insurance Careers Program, aimed at preparing community college students for work in the insurance field. Solano Community College is taking the lead in managing the program with colleges from throughout California.

“The insurance industry provides outstanding career opportunities for today’s community college students because of the abundance and diversity of jobs available,” said Paul White, CEO of Vantage Insurance Services, and originator of the program. “Insurance is prevalent in our society whether you drive a car, own or rent a home, have a small business, or manage a Fortune 500 company. The skills learned through this program will benefit both the individual and the insurance industry as a whole.”

However, the coalition said that misperceptions about the insurance industry, combined with a lack of formal training, are allowing community college students to overlook a high-paying, highly flexible career in the insurance industry. In the next two years, 36,200 entry level positions in the insurance industry in California will go unfilled if a pool of highly-skilled workers is not made available, according to research conducted as part of the program.

Actively involved partners include 17 community colleges, 9 Workforce Investment Boards, 30 businesses (including several of California’s largest insurance companies), and employer associations representing over 4,500 businesses statewide with extensive linkages to national networks.

“This unique program incorporates centralized curriculum development, coordinated professional development, and student learning resources that combine to meet the workforce needs of the insurance industry,” said Mike Wilson, program manager and principal at Rockridge Partners, a workforce development firm. “This model reduces recruiting expenses for employers, expands education programs at community colleges, and prepares students for work in California’s $1.06 billion insurance industry. Everyone wins,” he said.

The California Insurance Careers Program has been designed in response to industry demand for qualified entry level workers. Industry experts, including the Insurance Educational Association, have helped shape the insurance specialization curriculum under which students will be required to take six courses that complement a Business Associate of Arts degree. Basic requirements such as industry knowledge, and computer and communication skills are the foundation of the initiative.

CA-ICP is a statewide initiative that unites community colleges, workforce investment boards, businesses, and the
K-12 system to prepare students for careers in the insurance industry. The program is funded in part by a grant awarded under the President’s Community-Based Job Training Grants, as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. More information about the California Insurance Careers Program can be found at

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