CHICAGO — The Aon apprenticeship program is providing opportunities to pursue higher education. The program offers people a path to get two-year associate degrees while they work.

Chant’e Boyd, a soon-to-be graduate of the program, spent 18 years working in restaurants and retail until she learned about the program through a friend.

“I felt stuck in my position, and I didn’t see a way out, even though I always wanted to try to figure out a way,” the Aon apprentice said.

Boyd says a friend passed along information about the program, intending it for her daughter, but Boyd decided to apply instead.

“They offer to pay for your college, they offer to pay while you work, and they offer to pay while you attend school, and I felt that was something too good to be true,” Boyd said.

The Aon apprenticeship program launched in 2017 and about 100 people are selected each year to participate. Apprentices receive a salary, benefits, mentorship and support as they spend 40 hours a week in the office and classroom.

Boyd just received her degree from Harold Washington College and will soon finish the program with a promotion.

“I’ll be considered to be a data analyst and what we do there, we work closely with the consultants. I create the QIRs, which are quarterly investment reports, as well as instruction guides for the clients,” Boyd said.

Visit the Aon website for more information on the apprenticeship program

Now Boyd says she has her sights set on continuing her education at a four-year institution, and her daughter is following in her footsteps at Aon.

“Before I didn’t feel like I was the example, however, now I can truly say that I am the example that I set for her,” Boyd said. “So now she just enrolled into the program as well.”