BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BlueCross) and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) formally welcomed 29 Chattanooga-area high school students to the second-ever class of the BlueSky Institute in an April 22 ceremony. This second cohort, which totals 30 students, doubles the size of the workforce development venture that offers the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in computing and a job offer in just over two years.
BlueSky Institute aims to foster the advanced technology talent BlueCross needs to serve its customers, communities and business partners, with an emphasis on engaging individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Students progress through an accelerated version of ETSU’s accredited computing curriculum and gain real-world experience with technology and professional mentorships at BlueCross along the way. Those who complete the program may have the chance to launch their career with the company following graduation.
“It’s really exciting to see this program grow and develop,” said Bradley Leon, BlueSky Institute executive director. “Our first student cohort has benefited so much from the mentorship and intensive support our program offers, and they’ve fully engaged with the opportunities they’ve been given to develop their knowledge and tech skills. We look forward to applying the lessons and experiences of this first year to support our new class as they join us on campus.”
The second cohort of the BlueSky Institute includes graduates of 14 Chattanooga-area high schools: Central High School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, East Hamilton High School, East Ridge High School, The Howard School, Hixson High School, Marion County High School, Ooltewah High School, Red Bank High School, Sale Creek High School, Sequoyah High School, Soddy Daisy High School, STEM School of Chattanooga and Tyner High School.
The students of the second cohort will join the inaugural class at the BlueSky Institute facility located within the BlueCross Cameron Hill headquarters in August. With the addition of a third cohort in fall 2024, the program will reach its maximum planned size of around 100 students.
“We look forward to what the future holds for each BlueSky Institute student, and for the program as a whole,” said Dr. Brian Bennett, chair and associate professor for the Department of Computing at ETSU. “We’re proud to be the educational partner for this initiative, which will continue to expand career opportunities for people across our region.” Learn more about the BlueSky Institute program at blueskytn.com.