- David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for USA TODAY Network Tennessee.
The field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, has in recent years dominated conversations about the future of the American economy.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that computer science jobs will grow by 22% from 2020 to 2030.
However, there are not enough US students pursuing this field, which presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
The BlueSky Tennessee Institute at East Tennessee State University – a partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – reports that there are only 1,000 qualified graduates to fill 4,100 information technology job openings each year in Tennessee. They aim to bridge that gap.
In this episode of the Tennessee Voices video podcast, BlueSky Executive Director Brad Leon talks about the institute.
Students earn an accelerated bachelor’s degree in 27 months at ETSU in Johnson City and find employment at BlueCross in Chattanooga.
He recently wrote about many students successfully following a path to a high-paying, in-demand career.
Leon also spoke about his past work with Teach for America and his role as Shelby County Schools’ chief innovation officer as well as his desire to make a positive impact in low-income communities.
Essay by Brad Leon:Why we believe that 32 high school students represent the future of BlueCross | opinion
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David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for USA TODAY Network Tennessee and an editorial board member of The Tennessean. Tweet him at @davidplazas.