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InsurTech Ohio Spotlight with Jeff Dodge

Jeff Dodge is the Employer Navigator - Apprenticeship Hub at Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP). The organization focuses on strategic initiatives, business services and advocacy to build a vibrant business environment and region. Jeff was interviewed by Chris Luiz, Director of Solutions Architecture and Customer Success at Monitaur and Cleveland Founder at InsurTech Ohio.




Jeff, can you share about your role within the Greater Cleveland Partnership as well as its mission?

 

“With 12,000 members, Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is the largest metropolitan chamber of commerce in the United States. We support our businesses and community through initiatives that create a great region to work, live and play. Our work is guided by GCP’s All In Plan, and we convene, collaborate and coordinate with partners to advance regional growth and prosperity.

 

I’m on GCP’s talent team, and we partner with businesses to build pipelines to connect talent to companies and good paying jobs. In 2022, GCP received a $5.8 million grant from the Department of Labor Apprenticeship Building America Act, which has enabled us to establish the Equitable Registered Apprenticeship Hub, a network of innovative Registered Apprenticeships and Pre-Apprenticeships to help companies find talent.”

 

How does the apprenticeship program work, and how is it different?

 

“We are working with partners to grow Registered Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship programs in nontraditional industries like hospitality, healthcare, IT, banking, insurance and real estate over the next four years. To do this, we convene working groups of local companies that advise us on their needs, which helps inform the standards of the programs.


In the last year, we have built two Registered Apprenticeship roles in insurance – a client service admin role and a customer service role. These apprenticeships were approved by the Department of Labor and Apprentice Ohio in November 2023, and we’re recruiting companies to learn about the programs and consider apprenticeships as an alternative pipeline of recruiting talent to their companies. 


What makes apprenticeships different is that the apprentice is an employee of the company – unlike an intern where they may work with a company for a few months and move on to their next opportunity. Additionally, an apprentice is not only paid for their work, but they’re also receiving on-the-job training.


Apprentices complete their technical instruction at an approved community college, where they enroll in business and customer services courses, along with an introduction to their industry of focus. And because an apprenticeship is an earn-and-learn opportunity, there’s wage progression – apprentices begin at an entry-level wage and receive increases as they advance. When they complete their full training and licensing and receive their credential, they’re earning a full journey wage.”

 

What are the advantages of participating in an apprenticeship program?

 

“There are many advantages to participating in an apprenticeship program, but one that stands out is mentorship. Mentorship creates a bond between the apprentice and the employer, and that bond leads to the apprentice feeling comfortable and wanting to stay with a company longer –  Apprenticeship USA found that roughly 90% of apprentices are with their company after five years.

 

There are also advantages for the employer, including a reduction in recruitment costs. Apprenticeships also foster a diverse and inclusive culture and highly skilled workforce. They create flexible training options that ensure workers develop the right skills and create a pipeline of skilled employees.”

 

What’s the best way to get involved for folks interested in the apprenticeship program?

 

“If your company wants to learn more about apprenticeships, please reach out. We have a team ready to help and provide support, and we are glad to discuss how an apprenticeship model can best fit your organization.”

 

  

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