Aon Widens Pool For New Hires

(CBS) — Though the employment rate has improved, corporate America is having trouble finding a certain kind of worker.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, a new kind of apprenticeship here in Chicago has more students hearing, “You’re hired.”

In the towering offices of Aon not all the corporate types here are what they seem.

“Originally, I had to work two jobs while going to school full time,” says Victor Gutierrez. “I would sleep four hours or sometimes I wouldn’t sleep at all because I had to do homework.”

But at 18, he now works in financial compliance, earns $30,000 a year and attends business classes on Fridays through Aon’s two-year apprentice program.

Apprenticeships have traditionally been associated with skilled trades and manufacturing.

Aon’s Bridget Gainor says the company was traditionally turning to college graduates for white-collar entry-level jobs, but couldn’t always fill the void.

“When we looked at what was actually required on the job, a four-year college wasn’t necessary and it was creating a barrier to us having access to this great pool of talent,” she says.

Since January, the firm has recruited 26 apprentices with associate’s degrees from Harold Washington City College. They earn a paycheck and benefits, and Aon pays their tuition.

“After the two years, they have a full time job here,” Gainor says.

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