Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, is expanding its pioneering corporate Apprenticeship program with an investment of $30 million over the next five years. The firm will lead the formation of new local Apprentice Networks in six new cities across the United States, building upon the proven approach of programs in the Chicago area and London that have helped bridge the gap between education and employment.
Aon will initiate the Apprenticeship program expansion with a starting class of more than 100 apprentices next year in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Since Aon launched the Chicago Apprentice Network in 2017 with Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Zurich Insurance Group with a class of 25 apprentices, the Network has grown to more than 40 employers working with 740 apprentices. With this expansion, Aon will lead the development of a nationwide network of employers to create 10,000 apprenticeships across the United States by 2030.
“The apprenticeship program has brought so many talented colleagues to our firm and we know it has tremendous potential to create new opportunities and professional networks for both apprentices and participating employers across the United States,” said Greg Case, Chief Executive Officer of Aon. “This is an innovative way for employers to attract and retain diverse talent, prepare future leaders and contribute to building a more future-focused, resilient workforce.”
“Illinois has the most talented and dedicated workforce in the nation – but we need tens of thousands of new skilled workers to continue to meet the growing demand for talented employees. My administration is making apprenticeships accessible to students and transitioning workers statewide to help Illinoisans get training for jobs that offer greater long-term opportunity, all while businesses expand their workforce,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “The Chicago Apprentice Network is providing life-changing opportunities for the city’s youth and the Illinois Apprenticeship Program, which my administration recently invested an additional $4.7 million in, is on track to support an additional 17,000 participants by the end of this year.”
“As the proud co-author of the multi-billion-dollar, bipartisan ‘Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century Act’ that funds workforce training and youth pre-apprenticeship programs across the country, I have seen the direct impact of Aon’s apprenticeship programs in strengthening our workforce and growing our economy,” said Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8). “I look forward to continuing to work with Aon, as well as with all leaders in the Chicago Apprentice Network and like-minded organizations, to provide more pathways to high-paying, in-demand jobs in our community.”
Aon, together with Accenture, JP Morgan Chase, The Hartford and Zurich Insurance, will spearhead the expansion of the Chicago Apprentice Network to other cities. This will include collaboration with educational partners and nonprofits to create the Network’s infrastructure, similar to the approach with City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), College of Lake County and One Million Degrees for the Chicago Apprentice Network.
“Advancing our partnership with the Chicago Apprentice Network is a big next step toward closing the training gaps that affect every industry and providing more people with equal opportunity to build thriving careers,” said Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, which has hired more than 120 apprentices in Chicago since 2016. “By bringing professional apprenticeships to additional cities across America, we will help thousands more underserved people become job-ready for the roles of today and tomorrow. These pathways to employment and a more inclusive workforce are a powerful example of how we can truly make a difference for our businesses, our communities and the people in our communities.”
Aon’s Apprenticeship program provides opportunities for diverse professionals to develop vital skills in the workplace while earning as they learn. Apprentices are offered permanent positions with competitive salaries, benefits and financial support for the cost of education. Aon provides apprenticeships across the firm’s solution lines and corporate functions, including areas such as human resources and information technology.
“Apprenticeships are a win-win for career seekers and companies that value diverse perspectives,” said Kathleen Savio, CEO of Zurich North America, which expanded its apprenticeship program from the company’s Chicago-area headquarters to New York this year, while helping to launch Insurance Apprenticeship USA (IAUSA), an insurance industry-focused initiative. “Expanding apprenticeship programs is an investment in a future-ready workforce.”
The Apprenticeship program has helped Aon build a talent pipeline of highly skilled and diverse professionals. As part of Aon’s global commitments to further embed inclusion and diversity into the firm’s culture, expanding the Apprenticeship program will help build a more resilient workforce and drive better outcomes for our clients and greater impact in our communities.
“The Chicago Apprentice Network has played an essential role in deepening City Colleges’ relationship with the business community and accelerating our capacity to connect CCC students to transformational careers,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago. “As Accenture and Aon expand their apprenticeship commitments to other cities, we look forward to supporting our community college colleagues in building models that showcase the incredible talents of community college students.”
Aon launched its apprenticeship program in 2012 in the UK and in 2017 in the United States, training more than 290 apprentices globally. More information about Aon’s Apprenticeship program is available here. For more information about the Chicago Apprentice Network, click here.