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The Aon U.S. Apprenticeship Program: What Started in Chicago Has Now Gone National
December 27, 2021

What started in the U.S. as a Chicago initiative has now gone national.

After launching Aon’s U.S. apprenticeship program in 2017, the firm greatly expanded the model in the past year following its $30 million investment announced in November 2020. In the past year, Aon had 100 new apprentices join the firm in seven cities across the country, while working with nine local community colleges and six local non-profits to ensure the success of the two-year Department of Labor-certified apprenticeship program. As a result of this commitment, Aon is leading the development of a nationwide network of employers to create 10,000 apprenticeships across the United States by 2030.

While expanding the apprentice network model to six new metro areas in 2021, the Chicago Apprentice Network also continues to grow. Since the Chicago Apprentice Network launched with Aon, Accenture and Zurich Insurance Group and a class of 25 apprentices, the Network has now grown to more than 50 employers across 18 sectors, including finance, technology, consulting, retail and manufacturing – and in April 2021, the Chicago Apprentice Network surpassed 1,000 apprenticeships in the Chicagoland area.

In November 2021, we celebrated National Apprenticeship Week, and in Chicago, Aon CEO Greg Case alongside Allstate Chief Talent Officer Christy Harris, Accenture Senior Managing Director Jim Coleman and Zurich CEO Kristof Terryn honored the community’s apprentices and their contributions. A replay of the event is available here.

“The apprenticeship effort here in Chicago has brought many talented colleagues to our firm and we are pleased to see it creating great new opportunities for both apprentices and participating employers,” said Greg Case, Aon’s CEO.   

The program continues to receive significant interest and was recently featured in the Hechinger Report and Techonomy, and landed Aon in Fortune Magazine as a company that is changing the world.

The Apprenticeship program is just part of Aon’s broader commitment to and impact in its North America headquarters. Other initiatives in 2021 included:

  • In November 2021, Case was recognized by The Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) for his support of equity in education at its 20th anniversary fundraiser, where a total of $2.1 million was raised. AUSL is an education equity-focused nonprofit that offers a Chicago Teacher Residency which provides educator training and professional development for teachers in public schools on Chicago’s south and west sides.
  • Aon has a continued longstanding relationship with the Mitzi Freidheim Child & Family Center, which specializes in early childhood care for families in the Englewood community in Chicago. In the Chicagoland area this holiday season, Aon colleagues purchased gifts for 100 children and raised more than $15,500 to purchase and distribute gifts, gift cards and everyday essentials for families in need.
  • Aon held an annual fundraising campaign for United Way of Metro Chicago in the spring, raising more than $177,000 in colleague contributions. When combined with Aon matching gifts, and a grant from the Aon Foundation, a total of more than $450,000 will be invested in regional recovery initiatives. Across spring campaigns for United Way in Canada and the United States, more than 510 Aon colleagues donated and pledged over $500,000, serving 35+ communities. Aon’s contributions will help address the impact of COVID-19, including health and human services organizations funded by United Way that provide essential public services, tackle inequities and support community recovery and rebuilding.
  • Several Aon colleagues volunteered with Chicago Scholars, the largest college access and success program in Chicago that uniquely selects, trains and mentors more than 3,000 academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities to complete college and become the next generation of leaders who will transform their neighborhoods and our city.
  • In December, 30 colleagues from Aon’s finance team in Chicago joined KPMG employees to donate their time and efforts for the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago. Together, they packaged 200 hygiene kits for children in the Chicago region who do not have access to these essential products.
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