In response to the growing need for data scientists and employees with data analytics skills, UnitedHealth Group this week announced it has created an $8.2 million partnership with the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) to develop a pipeline for minority students.
The five-year investment by UnitedHealth Group is part of an ambitious collaboration with the AUCC membership (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College).
A Demonstrated Need
“Technology and data science are both critical to meeting the needs of our customers, but you cannot have one without the other,” said Ellen Wilson, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, UnitedHealth Group. “We are excited to support this initiative because it helps ensure our workforce for the future is both skilled and diverse.”
The number of job openings for data professionals is projected to reach 2.7 million by 2020, according to one study. However, only two of the 101 historically black colleges or universities in the United States have programs in data science, largely due to a lack of funding.
“Technology in general, and data science in particular, are critical to better meeting the needs of our customers,” said Dave Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group. “We are excited to support this initiative because it aligns well with our desire to ensure our workforce for the future is both diverse and possesses the skills needed to propel our company for continued success.”
A Proud History
The AUCC has a long history of producing leaders across many fields and disciplines, and its collective community of 9,000 students in Atlanta will help the UnitedHealth Group data science program reach a broad spectrum of students.
“The colleges in the Atlanta University Center, for decades, have been in the vanguard of educating African Americans who succeed in STEM fields,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College. “This gift by UnitedHealth Group is an investment in our commitment to continue that primacy in STEM by making the AUCC a center of excellence for the study of data science across a range of disciplines in medicine and the liberal arts.”
The partnership is just one way UnitedHealth Group is making significant investments in creating a 21st century health workforce that is ready to deliver personalized, culturally competent care, particularly in underserved communities. In 2018, the United Health Foundation awarded the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a three-year, $1.6 million grant to create “Project ENABLE,” the Extensible Network-Accessible Biomedical & Health Informatics Lifelong Learning Environment initiative that will deliver high-quality biomedical and health informatics training to people who currently lack access to training.