The University of Olivet’s risk management and insurance (RMI) program has drawn national attention for its extensive course offerings, large number of students enrolled in the program and impressive 99 percent job placement rate for graduates. In fact, Business Insurance compared the top colleges serving the industry and ranked The University of Olivet the eleventh program in the nation. Currently, Olivet has around 140 undergraduate students enrolled in the RMI program, producing approximately 35 graduates per year.
In an industry where 40 percent of the workforce will reach retirement age within the next two years, The University of Olivet is playing a strong role to increase students’ interest in the insurance field. A partnership between the Lansing School District (LSD) and The University of Olivet has been formed to allow LSD students to earn The University of Olivet credits for insurance classes offered by Lansing high schools. The partnership, formally titled the Lansing School District Insurance Academy Agreement, was officially signed on Oct. 6 at a Board of Education meeting.
“The University of Olivet is not only the capital region’s private college of choice, it is a national leader in insurance education at the collegiate level for undergraduates,” said Maria Davis, Ph.D., provost and dean of The University of Olivet. “There is an increased need for employees due to the greying of current leadership in the field. This presents a great opportunity for The University of Olivet to take what we are good at and make it more accessible to our local community.”
As a result of the partnership, LSD juniors and seniors will be able to earn free credit toward their college degree. The Insurance Academy will offer three classes aligning to the requirements of Olivet’s principles of insurance, personal insurance and commercial insurance courses. By completing all three courses, LSD students will graduate high school with nine college credits. If these students choose to pursue an undergraduate degree in RMI at The University of Olivet, they have the potential to graduate in three and a half years.
The University of Olivet will review and approve the curriculum to ensure that LSD students are learning at a college level. In addition, LSD students will have access to industry and career-building activities affiliated with The University of Olivet, such as the annual Employers’ Fair typically held in January of each year. The partnership will also include The University of Olivet guest faculty lecturers and participation from other industry professionals.
“Our students deserve to have multiple options for career choices and it’s the mission of the Lansing School District to help them get ‘opportunity ready,’” said Yvonne Caamal Canul, superintendent of Lansing School District and The University of Olivet alumna from the class of 1973. “A program such as this one, will not only provide students real-life experiences from which they can learn, but will also build a life-long commitment to being a successful member of our community by joining a growing industry.”
As part of the Insurance Academy, LSD students will split their time between regular class sessions and hands-on training at the AF Group in Lansing, a nationally recognized insurance holding company.
“We look at this program as a chance to educate students and plant the seeds early about the opportunities available to them. We are very involved in the community and are excited to provide students an opportunity to further their education,” said Lynette Long, manager of Talent Management and Learning for AF Group. “AF Group provides the on-site learning environment so that students can experience what it feels like to be in this business, as well as have access to professionals through job shadowing and guest lectures.”
The partnership follows the inclusion of The University of Olivet as a Lansing Promise eligible school. The University of Olivet has committed to providing Lansing Promise-eligible students with the opportunity to have an immersive, residential educational experience below the cost of tuition, room and board at Michigan State University.
The University of Olivet’s RMI program prepares students for careers helping others plan for the unexpected and secure the things that matter most. As part of the program, students gain practical experience through internships, membership to Gamma Iota Sigma, the college’s professional RMI society, and industry involvement opportunities such as career fairs and conferences. Read more about the RMI program at The University of Olivet.
Photo: Front row, left to right: Maria Davis, dean and provost, The University of Olivet, Rachel Lewis, vice-president, Lansing School District and Mike Maurer, regional director, Business Development, Accident Fund Insurance.
Others in attendance included Tom Humphreys, assistant professor of insurance and risk management, The University of Olivet, Lynette Long, manager, Talent and Learning at Accident Fund Insurance Group, Glenn Stevens, J.W. Sexton High School principal, Lansing School District, Robert Fuehr, Risk Management and Insurance Academy instructor, Lansing School District, and students enrolled in the Insurance Academy.