2017 Diversity in Insurance Forum

On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, The Katie School hosted their second Diversity in Insurance Forum in Chicago, IL. This unique event was designed to connect members of local high schools and community-based organizations working with talented, college-bound students from traditionally underrepresented groups to the insurance industry. Attendees learned more about scholarships, internship opportunities, mentorships, career options, high school summer camps, and educational career paths.

Chicago-area high school students visit the Katie School

The Katie School partners with InVEST, a grassroots program that teams educators with representatives from the insurance industry to provide exposure for insurance career opportunities, to host students of underrepresented groups in higher education from various Chicago area high schools for an annual Illinois State University campus visit. Most recently, students from Chicago Vocational and Thornton Township High School visited on April 27, 2017.

The students spent the day experiencing college life and getting an invaluable opportunity to network with insurance students and professionals. They ate lunch with current Katie School students and heard testimonials on the benefits of pursuing a degree in insurance. Additionally, an independent insurance agent answered questions on the difference between independent and captive agents and discussed the opportunities in sales. After stopping for a quick photo op with Reggie Redbird, the students toured the ISU quad including the State Farm Hall of Business. Finally, representatives from COUNTRY Financial of various backgrounds chatted with students on the wide breadth of career opportunities available in the insurance industry.

ISU partners with College Greenlight

ISU has partnered with College Greenlight, a platform started by Cappex in 2012, to further its diversity recruitment efforts. College Greenlight is the leading online college and scholarship search platform focused on the needs of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students. Greenlight’s 275,000 registered students come from its network of more than 1,200 college access organizations and other community based organizations (CBOs), who use the site to help their students research colleges, learn about new colleges, organize their college lists, and find scholarships to fund their education. In addition, organizations can use College Greenlight’s counselor tools to track and measure student progress. In the state of Illinois, Greenlight’s network includes more than 40,000 students and 130 organizations, including Chicago Scholars, One Goal, Collegiate Scholars Program, Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program,  and ISAC.

Through the Greenlight platform, ISU is able to send targeted messages to students who meet our recruitment parameters (e.g. grades, area of interest). Through its organizational network, College Greenlight has cultivated an incredibly diverse pool of students (nationally more than 70% of students are African-American or Hispanic/Latino). By using Greenlight’s student messaging features, ISU is able to generate new interest from students from underrepresented communities. College Greenlight also helps connect ISU’s recruitment team to college access organizations/CBOs who can become pipelines of diverse students. More and more colleges across the country are seeing CBOs as sources of diverse talent and looking to establish partnerships with these organizations to recruit high-achieving underrepresented students who will be successful on campus. In 2016, ISU hosted a very successful “Diversity in Insurance” event, which was attended by several organizations from College Greenlight’s CBO community.

Katie School Diversity In Insurance Reception

On November 18th, the Katie School of Insurance hosted its Diversity in Insurance Reception in downtown Chicago as part of our continuing effort to promote diversity at Illinois State University, for students considering careers in the insurance and risk management professions.

We were pleased to have strong participation from numerous organizations including community based organizations, high schools, community colleges, and insurance company partners. In addition to more than 40 organizational participants, we heard testimonials from high school and college students, and Illinois State University alumni who had experienced the benefits in working with the Katie School. They commented that they felt welcome and included, and added that the Katie School had provided them with an awareness of educational and career opportunities that they had not considered. Alumni said they valued not only the scholarships, and classroom education, but all the numerous opportunities the Katie School provided them in developing career skills, and networking with industry professionals. Alumni expressed their thanks for the Katie School’s extensive network of industry partners that enabled them to find internships and jobs.

The Katie School is fortunate to work with industry partners that see both the moral imperative of engaging all people to their fullest potential, and the business necessity for diversity. The challenge today is to fill the talent pipeline for tomorrow’s leaders. The graying of the industry and impending retirement of hundreds of thousands of baby boomers, is creating a talent crisis that could adversely affect industry, customers and society as a whole, that depend on innovative, reliable insurance products and services.

The industry has generously supported the Katie School to help address that impending crisis and students are the beneficiary of that generosity. The Katie School is committed to creating  a comprehensive model of talent acquisition and development. Attracting talent begins by promoting the “why to” in addition to the “how to”. Students and perspective students understand the “why to” as the Katie School creates unique learning experiences that empower students to understand how their own skills and abilities can be used to improve their lives and the lives of others through managing risk and creating products and services that enable appropriate risk-taking.

The Katie School does this in a variety of ways. First the Katie School is committed to comprehensive outreach including:

  1. Partnering with InVEST to bring high school students from underrepresented groups to campus .
  2. Offering  two fully funded, week-long,  high school programs. The Midwest High School Actuarial Scholars Academy is the oldest running high school program (just completed its 20th year) focusing on risk and insurance. It is for underrepresented students gifted in mathematics, interested in actuarial science. Applications for this begin in December. The Katie School Redbird Risk Management Challenge. is a fun, and educational program where students, working in teams, must manage the risks of running a business. Applications for this begin in January. Both programs take place in each summer in July.
  3. Working with community colleges such as Harold Washington Community College in Chicago to attract talented transfer students who have completed their associates degree and are interested in continuing their studies at a four year institution.
  4. Partnering with universities in other countries to bring talented international students to Illinois State University to study as graduate students and working with faculty and native students on global risk and insurance projects.
  5. Sponsoring Gamma Iota Sigma students to teach high school students about careers in risk management and insurance.

One area in which the results of these efforts can be tracked is with the actuarial program. The profession as a whole has struggled to attract diverse talent, yet the actuarial program at Illinois State University has not only thrived as a Center for Actuarial Excellence and enjoyed unprecedented success in the number of students passing actuarial exams. The program, with the help of the Katie School and industry partners has four times the diversity as is found overall in the profession.

The Katie School Scholarships , including actuarial scholarships, along with the College of Business  diversity scholarships, and needs-based scholarships provide a broad level of support for attracting diverse groups to help ensure that the talent pipeline is a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Once on campus, the Katie School supports world-class educational instruction, and provides unique learning experiences outside the classroom, that build skills, to prepare them for professional careers in the industry. In addition to broad support from Katie School advisory board companies, the Katie School hosts a Hall of Fame that recognizes innovation and social responsibility, highlighting the true nature of insurance as a meaningful societal contributor that pays for healing and restoration from serious illnesses and accidents, and promotes business development through products and services that protect business owners, and their workers from the financial consequences of devastating risks.Proceeds from the Hall of Fame go toward scholarships and student development activities.

If you or students are interested in educational opportunities, and career information please see www.katieschool.org.

Presentation slides from the reception event can be found by clicking here: Diversity Reception Slides

Photos from the reception are below: