InVEST awarded John Mayo, business management instructor at Lake Region Vocational Center in Naples, Maine, the 2017 InVEST Teacher of the Year Award and Dottie Chalmers-Cutter, vice president of operations for the Chalmers Insurance Group in Bridgton, Maine, the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award.
Currently there are 877 InVEST programs throughout the United States with more than 30,000 students participating in the insurance education program. InVEST is a key driver in attracting new talent into the insurance industry which is estimated to have 400,000 open positions by 2020.
"Dedicated teachers like John are essential for the success of the InVEST program which provides much needed financial literacy education," says Cindy Hower, InVEST board chair and president of Kellerman Insurance, an independent agency in Kansas. "And InVEST is proud to have a terrific mentor and volunteer like Dottie as part of our program."
The Teacher of the Year award honors outstanding teachers who educate their students about insurance through the interactive and engaging InVEST curriculum. Mayo's InVEST students enjoy field trips to local insurance agencies where they can "job shadow" insurance professionals. Students also role play with agents who visit the classroom in scenarios like buying auto or homeowners insurance or even starting their own (simulated) insurance agency.
But Mayo emphasizes to his students that selling insurance policies is just one insurance career path, highlighting other industry roles such as accountants, IT professionals and social media marketers.
"It can be a challenge sometimes to keep students engaged in textbook subject matter, but it's gratifying when they understand how insurance can relate to their personal lives," Mayo says. One of his students has even received an InVEST scholarship and is currently exploring a career in risk management.
The InVEST Volunteer of the Year award honors an insurance professional who has made significant contributions in fostering the growth and development of young people in the insurance industry. Chalmers is a fourth-generation employee in her family business, and was introduced to the InVEST program through her involvement with the Maine Young Agents Committee. Each fall she returns to her alma mater Lake Region Vocational High School to give an insurance presentation to the InVEST class, and then invites the students to her office, where they are matched with commercial and personal insurance agents and asked to "role play" using insurance case studies.
"Our agency also offers a paid summer internship program geared towards junior and senior college students studying business, marketing or finance," Chalmers explains." To date, the Chalmers Agency has even hired seven InVEST graduates, six of whom have been employed there for over 10 years.
"I love working with InVEST students and sharing my knowledge with hopes of encouraging them to join this diverse industry and even consider employment at our agency," Dottie adds. "Serving as an InVEST volunteer has been a great way for me to reconnect with high schools in my community to educate and recruit young talent.
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. www.investprogram.org.