For Zurich, the 9th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) kicked off Nov. 13 with a celebration at the Department of Labor’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., attended by Zurich apprentice alumna Lydia Arthurs. It wrapped up with a virtual event highlighting Illinois apprentices from different companies including Zurich IT apprentice Aaron Henry. In between were events in New York and Chicago as well as several major cities as apprenticeship programs like Zurich’s continue to gain visibility as a pipeline to great careers and great talent.
In the days leading up to the week’s festivities, Zurich learned that Arthurs had been selected for the first cohort of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprentice Trailblazers, a national network of apprentices and apprenticeship graduates. Arthurs traveled to Washington, DC, for the event, where Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su held a graduation ceremony for students who recently completed their apprenticeship programs. Arthurs met with government officials and other trailblazers and participated in a video the DOL shared on social media. Additional officials in attendance included Neera Tanden, Domestic Policy Advisor to the President; Zoe Baird, Senior Counselor to the Department of Commerce; and other public and private sector leaders.
“Registered Apprenticeships use proven strategies that help connect young people with good jobs and provide employers with skilled, entry-level employees,” Su said at the event. “The apprenticeship program graduates we honor here today at the Department of Labor remind us how these programs change people’s lives, creating a brighter future for them and for our nation.”
Chicago Apprentice Network event
Midweek, the Chicago Apprentice Network, formed in 2017 by Accenture, Aon, and Zurich North America celebrated National Apprenticeship Week by hosting an event at United Airlines’ headquarters in Chicago. Secretary Su traveled to Chicago to speak at this event, which also featured executives from United Airlines, the Business Roundtable, P33, i.c.stars, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Apprentices and managers from Zurich, Aon, Accenture, United, and other companies, nonprofits, and education providers attended as well, reflecting the growth of the network from its three founders to more than 100 companies across multiple industries.
During the networking portion of the event, Zurich IT Apprentice Aaron Henry was presented with a certificate as an Illinois Apprentice Ambassador—a new program created by the state of Illinois to support workforce innovation efforts. Apprentice Ambassadors will serve as champions for apprenticeship programs across the state by sharing their success stories and promoting apprenticeships to career seekers and employers.
Henry also sat down for video conversations with apprentices from Accenture, Aon, and United Airlines to compare their apprenticeship experiences.
Zurich North America CEO, Kristof Terryn, Cites Value of Apprenticeship
In a recent note to employees, Zurich North America CEO, Kristof Terryn, highlighted how the company’s apprenticeship program has expanded beyond its Chicagoland and New York offices to help build talent for the future.
“I recently had an opportunity to connect with our 2023 graduating cohort of apprentices,” Terryn said. “This year’s class marked several firsts — it’s the first group to have graduates from Atlanta, Minnesota, Washington state and North Dakota, and this year’s graduates are the first to complete a rotation in Crop Claims. The apprenticeship model is an important one for us, and it’s exciting to see our impact continue to expand across the U.S.”
When Zurich North America hired its first apprentices in 2016, apprenticeships in the U.S. were mainly in the trades. “While those traditional opportunities remain, Zurich, Accenture, Aon and many other businesses have proven that apprenticeships work across a wide range of corporate settings and roles,” Terryn said.
New York Apprentice Network event
Zurich executive Jeff Gallimore delivered welcome remarks at the New York Apprentice Network event at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Zurich collaborated with BMCC to launch the college’s first degree-based apprenticeship curriculum in 2020 when Zurich expanded its program to its New York City office. Further, BMCC now provides an apprenticeship curriculum to other companies.
“I am the proud colleague of dozens of apprentices in my role as Chief Operating Officer for U.S. National Accounts at Zurich North America,” Gallimore said as he opened the New York event. “Together, the members of the New York Apprentice Network are working to propel the apprenticeship movement because we have seen and experienced the value apprenticeship brings on so many levels. Events like this one highlight how apprenticeship is helping to future-proof careers and our economy, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and helping businesses build the workforce with the skills they need. Apprenticeship represents a rare form of opportunity – the kind where everybody wins.”
Learn more here if you or someone you know is interested in participating in Zurich’s Apprenticeship program.
Learn more here if you or someone you know is interested in the RCIS Apprenticeship Program.