In a ceremony last Saturday morning with family and friends at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee headquarters, 32 students formally committed to join the very first class of the BlueSky Institute.
The workforce development venture between BlueCross and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers students with a passion for technology the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in computing and a job offer in just over two years.
BlueSky Institute students will follow an accelerated version of ETSU’s accredited computing curriculum and gain real-world experience with technology and professional mentorships. Qualified graduates can start their career with BlueCross upon successful completion of the program.
“We need to secure our talent pipeline, and there is no better place to do that than here with our local high school graduates,” said JD Hickey, BlueCross president and CEO. “Our hope is that these students will be the future leaders of our company.”
The inaugural class of the BlueSky Institute includes graduates of schools across the Chattanooga area. Students will join the program from: Central High School, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, East Ridge High School, Hixson High School, Home Life Academy, Ooltewah High School, Ringgold High School, Soddy Daisy High School, STEM School of Chattanooga and Trine University.
The program will welcome these first students to the BlueCross headquarters on Cameron Hill in August.
“We are excited for what the future holds for each of these students, and we are proud to be the educational partner for this innovative program that provides a solution to a critical workforce need,” said Dr. Brian Noland, president of ETSU. “The BlueSky Institute will expand opportunities and open doors, truly making a difference for people across the region and beyond.”