Westfield Insurance Foundation gives $500,000 to support insurance studies program

Alyssa Schmitt

The Westfield Insurance Foundation donated $500,000 to Kent State’s Insurance Studies Program to promote students’ participation in the major and help fill the upcoming job openings.

The fund will provide career development programs, professional development opportunities and scholarships for the students to continue in the program, said Matthew Butts, executive director of advancement, regional campuses and special programs.

Butts said there is a push to encourage students to look at job opportunities in the field because Ohio has more than 260 companies on the corporate side of the insurance industry.

According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, there will be a need to fill 26,000 jobs by 2020.

“Our goal for the program is to educate our students so they’ll be capable of filling some of those positions,” said Tim McFadden, an adviser at the Salem campus who helped develop the program.

Westfield Insurance Foundation has been working with Kent State since it became a part of the insurance study advisory board in 2010, said Jani Groza, Westfield Insurance Community Investment Leader.

“It was easy to have confidence in Kent when we were a part of it from the very beginning,” Groza said. “We think it’s our responsibility to do what we can to educate not only youth but also adults who may be redirecting their own careers.”

Butts said that Kent State is a pioneer in the insurance industry.

“Kent State was the first university in Ohio to offer a bachelor’s degree in insurance studies,” Butts said.

The program was first offered to students at the start of the 2010 fall semester at the Salem campus; however, students don’t have to go to Salem to complete the program.

“There’s students enrolled in every campus and throughout Ohio because it’s offered by distance learning,” Butts said. “You can complete the degree by distance learning.”

The faculty is excited for the possibilities this major holds and wants to offer as much help as possible so students can flourish in the insurance industry.

“If you look at Kent State’s mission, we want students to have high quality academic experiences in all of our majors that will promote productive careers,” Butts said. “And allow individuals to become responsible citizens.” 

Contact Alyssa Schmitt at [email protected].