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Grant boosts industry training in Conn.


HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut's insurance and financial services industry will benefit from a federal grant that will be used to help fund an industry training program.

The President's High-Growth Job Training Initiative awarded more than $2.7 million to a Connecticut partnership that's creating IFS University and developing a curriculum and training model for the insurance and financial services industry over the next three years.

In a statement, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell said that because of the state's concentration of financial analysts, actuaries and underwriters, it's essential that Connecticut maintain and develop a knowledge-intensive workforce with the skills needed in those areas.

The IFS University is being created through a statewide partnership that includes Capital Community College, the state's Department of Economic Development and the Insurance and Financial Services Cluster, an industry-led group. The WorkPlace Inc., a regional workforce development board, will serve as the project's administrator and fiduciary.

With more than 140,000 jobs in the state, the insurance and financial services industry represents 8% of Connecticut's labor market.

The grant provides funding through the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a curriculum that will provide training in the skills required to enter into and advance in four occupational areas: financial managers and analysts, accountants and auditors, financial sales agents and brokers, and actuaries.

The project will develop an associate science degree in insurance and financial services to be offered at the community college level in Connecticut. After the new curriculum is completed, 400 people are expected to be trained within the initial grant period.