ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, July 25, 2017–InVEST, the insurance industry’s premier classroom to career education program, has awarded the $3,000 Bob Baxter Honorary Scholarship to Michelle Dajczak, a student at East Hartford High School in East Hartford, Connecticut. The program is a key incentive in attracting new talent to the insurance industry which will have an estimated 400,000 open positions by 2020 and faces a critical workforce gap.
“InVEST congratulates Michelle Dajczak who is among the 76 students representing 24 high schools, colleges and universities in eight states, who earned scholarships this year,” says Cindy Hower, InVEST board chair and president of Kellerman Insurance, an independent agency in Holton, Kansas. “InVEST develops future industry professionals by teaching high school and college students about insurance, risk management and financial services. As a result, students from more than 800 InVEST programs across the country are better equipped to pursue careers in an agency, company or other insurance industry organization.”
The Bob Baxter Honorary Scholarship was established in 2017 and awards a $3,000 scholarship to a high-performing InVEST student. Baxter is the retiring CEO of Dryden Mutual Insurance Company and was a dedicated member of the InVEST board of directors as well as a tireless volunteer for the InVEST program teaching insurance classes for decades in upstate New York. Today, 25% of the employees at Dryden Mutual are InVEST graduates thanks to Baxter’s pioneering efforts in New York. The InVEST board has agreed to award the top scholarships for three years to honor his commitment to the InVEST program.
InVEST contributes to the education and development of future insurance professionals through academic programs and scholarships. In high schools, the program offers students a business curriculum which teaches them about the dynamics of insurance agencies and companies. At the college level, the program develops students’ risk management and financial analysis skills. Along with corporate and direct contributions, scholarships are funded through proceeds generated by the InVEST Silent and Live auctions held in conjunction with the Independent Insurance Agents & Broker’s (IIABA or the Big “I”) Legislative Conference.
“A successful InVEST program is vital to the financial literacy of our young people, to the future of the independent agency system and to the insurance industry as a whole,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “We are concerned that the average age of an insurance agent is almost 60 and as baby boomers continue retiring in record numbers, the InVEST program has the potential to replenish our workforce and to produce the next generation of industry professionals and leaders.”
This year, InVEST awarded $75,500 to 76 students pursuing insurance-related degrees. The 2017 scholarship winners represent 24 schools and hail from eight states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire and New York.
for a complete list of scholarship winners.
Scholarship hopefuls from across the country submitted essays describing the influence and benefits of InVEST on their educational plans. The quality of the essay, combined with the applicant’s grade-point average and extracurricular activities, were factors in selecting the recipients. Scholarship checks are mailed directly to the institute of higher learning that each student is attending and will be used exclusively for educational expenses.
As a 501(c)(3) educational trust, InVEST benefits from the support of numerous insurance organizations, hundreds of agencies, brokers and volunteers. The program provides the insurance industry with motivated, talented and intelligent professionals through a support structure of state associations, board members, national staff, teachers and the many industry professionals who work in the field as classroom liaisons.
Founded in 1970 and based in Alexandria, Virginia, InVEST promotes insurance education in order to attract individuals to pursue a career in the insurance industry. Each year, the program prepares thousands of students for insurance-related careers with a hands-on curriculum taught in high schools, adult education centers and colleges. These courses provide students with a working knowledge of the basics needed to pursue careers in the insurance industry. For more information, go to www.investprogram.org.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.