CHICAGO, May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the nation's largest customer-owned health insurer, today announced the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas STEM Scholarship to help raise awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in the health care industry.
Funded by HCSC and facilitated by the historic UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the scholarship is the latest effort by HCSC's Center for Diversity and Inclusion to inspire students across its plan states to pursue STEM careers in health care by expanding access to scholarships, internships, work-study opportunities and educational programs.
"When students think of STEM careers, health care might not be the first thing that comes to mind," said Manika Turnbull, vice president and chief diversity officer, HCSC. "As we look to the future and how we will continue to meet the needs of our members and communities, the talent pipeline that comes from STEM is essential to our success. The internships, programs and scholarships we offer, including our new scholarship through the United Negro College Fund, help open doors to education in STEM fields and also reflect our commitment to a diverse workforce."
"Over the past few years, UNCF has seen a significant increase in STEM-related investments from individual donors and corporations, as these are the jobs of today and tomorrow. We are honored that Health Care Service Corporation has chosen to invest in better futures through UNCF," said Dr. Chad Womack, UNCF's national STEM director and executive director of the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative. "This exciting scholarship opportunity will empower students to chart their career paths in the health care industry and become the next generation of health care professionals needed in the 21st-century global economy."
STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.1 HCSC anticipates more than 25 percent growth in STEM-related jobs company-wide over the next two years. In the past two years, the company has experienced 42 percent growth in STEM-related jobs.
To help meet demand and deepen awareness of the variety of STEM-related careers in health insurance including, actuarial science, finance, treasury, technology, nursing, network engineers, medical directors and more, HCSC is cultivating relationships with elementary school, high school and college students who reflect the diverse communities the company serves.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas STEM Scholarship, encourages graduating high school seniors in Illinois and Texas to pursue STEM careers by providing $20,000 scholarships to one student in Illinois and one student in Texas, the states with the largest number of STEM opportunities for HCSC. Applications will be accepted May 16 – June 24, 2016 at UNCF.org. As part of the submission process, students must write an essay on the value of STEM careers and improving health care outcomes in underrepresented communities.
Additional HCSC programs aimed at raising awareness of health care-related STEM careers include:
- HCSC STEM Day Career: A job-shadow day and round-table discussion for Chicago Public Schools students to learn about technology experiences and career options at HCSC. While at HCSC, students job-shadow IT employees and learn from leaders across various disciplines about STEM careers in health insurance;
- Lumity One-Day Challenge: More than a dozen high school juniors and seniors gather at HCSC headquarters in Chicago and work with IT and business leaders to complete an IT change-based project. In 2015, students worked to create a mobile app that addressed childhood obesity by encouraging healthy activities;
- Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas STEM career day: Through its Texas Plan, HCSC's Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosts Girl Scout troops for engaging discussions and executive presentations in STEM career areas;
- TutorMate Innovations for Learning: HCSC employees help first-grade students from low- income communities learn to read via weekly web-based 30-minute tutoring sessions throughout the school year. During the sessions, the tutor and student read stories online and play internet-based games that build the student's word knowledge.
- Work-Study Program with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School: Through its Illinois plan, HCSC sponsors work-study internships each year in which students job-share a position with an employee to earn college tuition while gaining on-the-job experience.
About Health Care Service Corporation
Health Care Service Corporation is the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall, with more than 15 million members in its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A Mutual Legal Reserve Company, HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit HCSC.com, visit our Facebook page or follow us at www.twitter.com/HCSC.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark: A mind is a terrible thing to waste®. Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF.
1 Economics & Statistics Administration – United States Department of Commerce. "STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future." July 14, 2011. http://www.esa.doc.gov/reports/stem-good-jobs-now-and-future.
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SOURCE Health Care Service Corporation