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Below is a story that appeard in the Burlington County Time on Monday, January 31, 2011Click here for to be linked to the story on

Tony Mahon believes the insurance field is a great place to find a job - especially with the right experience and credentials.

"The insurance industry is terrific because there is a broad array of jobs," said Mahon, owner of AJM Insurance in Cherry Hill. "If you open the classifieds any Sunday, look at insurance; there are tons of jobs."

That's one reason why he is enthusiastic about the latest employment-related initiative launched at Burlington County College.

Under the program, organized by Mahon and the college foundation, BCC's fundraising arm, CNA Insurance Co. in Chicago has funded the cost of students who are taking classes so they can be certified as chartered property and casualty underwriters, a professional designation in property-casualty insurance and risk management.

Mahon said it is one of the "premier" designations in the insurance industry, similar to being a CPA in the accounting field.

Twelve students are taking the classes. Once they have completed and passed all five courses in the next 18 months, each student will have earned 15 college credits.

Mahon, who has been described as the driving force behind the arrangement, said it was a positive step for the students and BCC.

In addition to CNA, the 110-year-old Insurance Society of Philadelphia recruited an instructor for the course and has committed to providing support for the program.

"It's a win-win," said David Arnold, president of the society, in a news release. "We believe + a society like ours must collaborate with area universities and colleges to promote education, industry and employment. We see all these virtues in this relationship and could not be more thrilled to participate."

Mahon said the students would have the opportunity to intern with insurance companies, such as AJM, giving them an even better opportunity to enter the field.

He praised the students taking the classes, saying they came from a diverse background.

"This selection is a cross-section of America," Mahon said. "Young and old, black and white, Hispanic, working mothers, people who were laid off."

To celebrate the kickoff of the program, BCC will host a welcome reception for the inaugural class at 4 p.m. Thursday in Room 320 of Laurel Hall at its Mount Laurel campus on Route 38.

"When you get into the insurance field, you really are set for a long career as long as you like," Mahon said. "The jobs are there."

Chris Bishop can be reached at 609-871-8140, or

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