UnitedHealth Group has announced a five-year, $8.25 million partnership with the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the oldest and largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), to launch a data science initiative.
The AUCC Data Science Initiative will offer technical classes and certificate programs at AUCC member institutions — Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College — for students seeking to specialize in data science or apply data analysis in their own fields. In addition to infusing data science across all academic disciplines, the initiative will teach students how to use advanced data analytics techniques for academic research, with a focus on studies of disparities in minority communities.
According to a national study, the number of job openings in the United States for data professionals is projected to reach more than 2.7 million by 2020.
"Many universities have refocused existing programs 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. "The UnitedHealth Group funding will help to establish the base for this broad initiative, including hiring an accomplished director. Additionally, through UnitedHealth Group internships, guest lectures, faculty development opportunities, and other joint efforts, our students will greatly benefit from this partnership with the world's largest managed healthcare company. We are grateful for UnitedHealth Group's anchor investment in our vision, and we are in active conversations with other potential partners to assist us in other aspects of our plan."
"Rather than pursuing an incremental school-by-school approach, the four institutions have determined that a collective approach best leverages our resources to obtain our ambitious overall goal of being the largest producer of minorities with expertise and credentials in data science and data analytics," said Clark Atlanta University interim president Lucille H. Maugé.