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Hudson Valley Community College Offers New Degree Option to Train Employees for Insurance Industry
Industry representatives worked with college to create curriculum

CONTACT: Jason McCord (518) 629-8071 or (518) 629-7180
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, May 3, 2007

Responding to the need for insurance industry professionals, Hudson Valley Community College this fall will offer a new Insurance option through its existing Business Administration associate's degree program.

The Insurance option will prepare students for jobs such as underwriters, appraisers and other insurance claims positions by providing coursework in personal and commercial types of insurance. The curriculum also will detail how an insurance agency works.

Hudson Valley Community College created the new Insurance option after industry executives in the region approached the college about the need for training to enhance this important service industry and sector of the Capital Region's economy. Fifteen area insurance agencies – including the region's three largest, Rose and Kiernan Inc., Cool Insuring Agency Inc., and Marshall and Sterling Inc. – have expressed support for the new program.

"Hudson Valley Community College is proud of our close relationships in the business community. We're excited at this opportunity to help another industry grow by providing the well-trained workforce it requires," said Hudson Valley President Andrew J. Matonak, Ed.D.

In the past, large insurance companies in the area trained entry level professionals, who were then recruited by smaller companies, explained John F. Murray, president and chief executive officer of Rose and Kiernan Inc. insurance agency in East Greenbush. But as large companies either closed regional offices or stopped offering property and casualty insurance, the entry-level training largely disappeared.

"Hudson Valley Community College has earned a reputation of being extremely responsive to the needs of the business community, we've found them to be a terrific partner for this initiative," Murray said. "This program will offer outstanding career opportunities to graduates and well qualified professionals who will perpetuate the insurance industry. It is certainly a win for us all."

Given the large number of private sector insurance companies and state insurance agencies in the Capital Region, college officials expect students to have many local employment options upon graduation. According to the state Department of Labor, the insurance industry employs more than 13,500 people in the Capital Region.

"There's an overall need in the insurance industry for these positions. The Insurance option will prepare students to go to an insurance agency and distinguish themselves because they'll require less on the job training," said Karen Holmes, chairperson of the Business Administration Department.

The Insurance option is offered through Hudson Valley's existing Business Administration associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree program, which is structured for students looking for immediate employment or those considering further education. The college also offers a Business Administration associate is science (A.S.) degree which is structured for students planning to transfer to another college or university. Both the A.S. and A.A.S. degrees in Business Administration can be completed online, including the Insurance option.

"The whole program will be online. We plan to go national with this program," said Phil White, Hudson Valley's dean of the School of Business and School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate's degrees and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.