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The Swiss insurance giant is offering an apprenticeship program in the United States through an arrangement with Harper College in Illinois.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu and Zurich North America Commercial CEO Mike Foley joined a U.S. ambassador, Switzerland ambassador and industry representatives Feb. 2 to usher in a new apprenticeship program, held at the insurer’s Schaumburg, Ill., headquarters.

Touted as the “first of its kind” in the U.S. insurance industry, Zurich’s apprenticeship program, which began in January, is open to students at Harper College, located in nearby Palatine, Ill. Students will work for the carrier on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, working one year each in the claims and underwriting departments, while also going through shorter rotations in other company sectors, such as finance, risk or marketing. Apprentices are considered full-time employees, and are paid for their work.

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