In February, the NH Insurance Department along with several insurance professional groups promoted the Insurance Industry as a career choice. According to Fran DeCinto, Director of Planning and Personnel at the NH Insurance Department, referred to the job outlook for careers in the insurance industry as “fantastic.”
“By 2020, the industry will create more than 400,000 job opportunities as a result of Baby Boomers retiring,” she said. “Some of the trends in the Insurance Industry include the increase in autonomous vehicles, companies such as Uber, Lyft and AirBNB, and drones. These are all areas that are complex and exciting from an insurance point of view.”
As for what she hopes resulted from Insurance Careers Month in February, she cited the understanding that there is substantially more to the insurance industry than “just selling insurance.”
“There are opportunities for students interested in accounting, marketing, IT, HR and the legal field to name just a few,” she said. “Students should consider a career in insurance because it is a very stable field, it can be very lucrative, and it is ever-changing.”
According to the NH Insurance department, potential careers in the industry include, but are not restricted to the following: Underwriting, Information Technology, Claims, Actuary, Marketing , Sales, Loss Control, Financial Analyst, Attorney, Paralegal, and Human Resources.
For teachers who have an interest in talking about insurance as a possible career option to their students, she suggested they visit https://www.insuremypath.org/resources/industry-tools. She said the website provides a curriculum for teachers to embed insurance into their own teaching.
As for one of the main reasons for why they promote the industry so heavily for an entire month, DeCinto cited a talent shortage in New Hampshire. “It’s due to our aging population and the fact that many of the younger generation are leaving the state,” she said. “There are more jobs than people and that is specifically true in the insurance industry.”
With those factors in mind, she said a career in the Insurance Industry could be quite lucrative.
“Many insurance companies, agencies and insurance regulators are willing to hire college graduates with no experience,” she added.
To learn more about the NH Insurance Department, click the following links.
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Braving blustery elements at the University of New Hampshire on March 11, several dozen students from 7 high schools came together to compete at the NH State ProStart Competition. The stakes were high, as the winner represents the state at the National ProStart Competition in South Carolina in April, while individuals on each of the top three teams win scholarships.
Scholarships were provided by Culinary Institute of America, Culinary Institute of Virginia, Johnson & Wales University, Louisiana Culinary Institute, New England Culinary Institute, and The Art Institute. Sponsorships by were provided by FeedNH.org, High Liner Foods, EcoLab, Kittredge Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, Performance Foodservice- NorthCenter, and UNH.
Pinkerton Academy fielded two teams with Team 2 winning the competition, which thrilled Pinkerton Instructor, Chef Mark Cahill.
“First place in this very competitive competition has eluded us for several years now,” he explained. “We have a good balance now with my partner Keith, a new CTE Director, and some of the best students I have had the honor and pleasure of leading through this exciting and rewarding time in their lives. Through their strength, determination, and dedication we have all become champions.”
Citing his students’ attention to every detail–right to “the bitter end”–as instrumental, he congratulated every team that competed.
“Congratulations to all of the culinary teams involved,” he added. “Each and every one of them did a phenomenal job on Saturday.”
In addition to Pinkerton, other teams involved at the competition included Concord Regional Technical Center, Creteau Regional Technology Center, Milford High School & Applied Technology Center, Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center, Plymouth Applied Technology Center, and Portsmouth High School.
Winner- Pinkerton Academy
2nd Place- Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center
3rd Place- Concord Regional Technology Center
Mike Somers, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, said this year’s competition was incredibly competitive with just 10 points separating the first and last place team.
“Every school came with focus, purpose, and a cheering squad,” he said. “We had approximately 100 people in attendance, which is an awesome turn out for NH ProStart. The New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association Education Foundation is so proud of the students and their teachers. All of the teams put forth an incredible amount of effort leading up to and during the competition. We wish Pinkerton Academy the best of luck at Nationals.”
To learn more about the NHLRA, visit https://www.nhlra.com.
On March 11 at the University of New Hampshire, 7 high school teams will compete at the NH State ProStart Competition with the opportunity to represent NH at the National ProStart Competition in South Carolina in April.
At the state competition, participating teams will demonstrate their respective creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes with just two butane burners and without any access to running water or electricity.
“It’s pretty intense—it’s wonderful to watch,” said Chef Gary Sheldon, who started ProStart competitions in both Maine and New Hampshire.
Currently in charge of ensuring all participating schools adhere to ProStart guidelines he helped develop, Sheldon said successful completion of the program positions graduates for long-term success in the industry.
“In the competitions, the students must do a cost analysis on their recipes and work with others as an actual team,” he noted. “That’s what I love about ProStart—it’s what real life is all about. Students also earn ‘passports’ after completing ProStart, which gets them scholarship money to any post-secondary school in the country.”
Education Programs Coordinator at the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA), Amie Pariseau said ProStart can have a tremendous impact on students and on their future employment in the lodging and restaurant industries.
“While celebrating the competition and our hard-working students, we hope to showcase that culinary is a fun, lifelong potential vocation and bring awareness to the educational opportunities available,” she said.
For Robert Mcintosh, instructor in the Culinary Arts with Baking at Concord Regional Technical Center, the experiences offered within CTE programming helps build soft skills that are necessary to succeed in business and in life.
“Teamwork, communication, and professionalism all help prepare a student to be successful in the workplace and are part of teaching any trade,” he said. “What most students start to understand is how much of an integral part they play in day to day life as well. Not all my students stay in the culinary field, but all the ones that stay in touch talk about how the soft skills they learned in a CTE class helped them talk to bosses, professors and how comfortable they are working with people in their field.”
Instructor in the culinary program at Portsmouth Career Technical Center, Chef Perrin Long said this year represents his team’s fourth time at the NH State ProStart Competition. His team made it to the nationals in both 2014 (Minneapolis) and 2015 (Disney-Anaheim), although he acknowledged they ran into some issues last year.
“Our menu was too aggressive and we did not place,” he said. “This year, the students have designed their own menu and the ‘buy in’ they have in the process is tremendous.”
Echoing sentiments express by Sheldon, he said competitions like ProStart help strengthen and build students’ abilities.
“Students that compete are typically much more advanced than their counterparts because of the exposure they have had during practices, critiques and the competition,” he said.
According to Pariseau, her role is to try and build and strengthen relationships with—and between—both school districts and hotel/restaurant industry professionals.
“We are trying to build the next big thing for students in this industry,” she said. “We also strongly believe in ProStart and other education programs out there and the impact they have on students and their ability to enter the workforce.”
Expressing enthusiasm for the upcoming state competition, Sheldon said the demand in industry for individuals who have completed ProStart and CTE culinary programs has never been greater.
“I get calls all the time from people in industry looking for skilled help,” he said. “Students in ProStart are developing professional skills so they can walk into any restaurant and they are not lost. These kids are the industry’s future…I’ll take a ProStart kid over any journeyman cook who has been in the field for 15 years.”