UnitedHealth teams up with Atlanta HBCUs to further data science education
UnitedHealth Group has partnered with the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the oldest and largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), to establish a new initiative to prepare students to meet the growing demand in the marketplace for data analytics experts.
UHG is contributing US$8.25 million over five years, allowing Atlanta University Center Consortium’s (AUCC) four institutions — Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College — to offer students technical classes in data science or data analysis, giving them a competitive edge when they look for jobs in their field of study.
Data science — using maths, science and statistics to solve problems — is one of the highest in-demand careers, but educators and business leaders say there are not enough African Americans in the industry.
UHG hopes to change that and go some way to plugging the anticipated 2.7 million job openings in the sector.
“Many universities have refocused existing programmes or developed new efforts to respond to the need for this, yet these responses are still insufficient based on projected demand,” said AUCC Executive Director Todd Greene.
What a morning! @UnitedHealthGrp announces 5-year $8.25 million investment #AUCDataScience as part of a collaboration with @AUCConsortium, including @CAU, @Morehouse @MSMEDU and @SpelmanCollege. @KeishaBottoms pic.twitter.com/aBmCa3L0dt
— MSM (@MSMEDU) July 2, 2019
Greene said the funding would allow AUCC to establish a base for the Data Science Initiative and hire a director to oversee the programme. On top of study, students will be supported by UHG’s additional offerings, such as their internships, guest lectures, faculty development opportunities, and other joint efforts with the colleges.
The benefit to students of learning from one of the world’s largest healthcare companies will be significant, Greene added.
In addition to infusing data science across every academic discipline, the Data Science Initiative will teach students to use advanced data analytics techniques for academic research, particularly studies on disparities in minority communities.
“The Data Science Initiative has the potential to make the Atlanta University Center Consortium a national resource for experts in data analytics,” said Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President and Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine.
“This programme will not only produce talented data scientists who will be leaders in their fields, but increasing the number of degree offerings with data science competencies at HBCUs will assist in diversifying a career field that is currently made up of less than 7 percent of under-represented minorities.”