Kent State to offer new insurance degrees

Lt.+Gov.+Mary+Taylor+speaks+during+a+press+conference+about+the+insurance+program+offered+at+the+Salem+Campus.+Photo+by+Bob+Christy.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor speaks during a press conference about the insurance program offered at the Salem Campus. Photo by Bob Christy.

This article has been updated to reflect that the insurance studies program is on the Salem campus, not Stark as was previously reported.

Beginning in the fall 2013 semester, Kent State, in association with career awareness program Insuring Ohio Futures, will expand its insurance studies program on the Salem campus to now offer three degrees, including a distance learning option for students not on campus.

Kent State officials and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor announced the expansion of the program in a press conference Tuesday citing the need for more than 17,000 new employees to fill the positions of retiring baby boomers in the insurance industry, according to a study conducted by Columbus State Community College’s Center for Workforce Development.

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“Insurance is a very important industry in the state of Ohio,” Taylor said. “[Ohio has] the ninth largest insurance market in the country. If you look at the number of jobs available in Ohio compared to those in the other states, we have the seventh largest market with more than 100,000 jobs tied to the industry.”

In an effort to fill these positions in the industry, Kent State will offer degrees in general insurance, property and casualty insurance and life and health insurance.

Steve Nameth, dean of Kent State’s Salem campus, said these degrees would provide a lot of flexibility, while also ensuring a job after graduation.

“[The insurance degree program] is the kind of thing, when I go out and talk to prospective students, I can walk away and say very clearly to them, ‘You can build a career on this. This is a career.’” Nameth said. “This is not something I can sit here and say, ‘Maybe two years from now there will be jobs in this area.’ This is a lifetime career.”

With the assurance of career openings, Insuring Ohio Futures and Kent State officials plan to tailor this program to not only current students but also mid-career professionals and veterans, who are all looking for a secure career.

“The industry offers great jobs, stable jobs and well paying jobs in many different fields,” Taylor said. “[Insurance companies] have accounting, actuaries, adjusters — very specific to the industry — sales agents, attorneys, IT positions [and] communication positions. If you can imagine it, I’m sure there is a job in the industry that would be particularly good for you or for your skill level.”

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].

Contact Jessica Schmidt at [email protected].