BlueSky Institute Welcomes 32 Students to Inaugural Class at Signing Day Event

BlueCross/ETSU partnership offers bachelor’s degree, job offer in 27 months

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In a Saturday morning ceremony with family and friends at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BlueCross) headquarters, more than 30 students formally committed to join the very first class of the BlueSky Institute. The workforce development venture between BlueCross and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers students with a passion for technology the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in computing and a job offer in just over two years.

BlueSky Institute is designed to foster locally the advanced technology talent BlueCross needs to serve customers, communities and business partners. Students will follow an accelerated version of ETSU’s accredited computing curriculum and gain real-world experience with technology and professional mentorships. Qualified graduates can start their career with BlueCross upon successful completion of the program.

“Technology is how we add value for our members, it’s how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors, and it is increasingly where we do the bulk of our hiring,” said JD Hickey, BlueCross president and CEO. “We need to secure our talent pipeline, and there is no better place to do that than here with our local high school graduates. Our hope is that these students will be the future leaders of our company.”

The inaugural class of the BlueSky Institute includes graduates of schools across the Chattanooga area. Students will join the program from:

  • Central High School
  • Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy
  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts
  • Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences
  • East Ridge High School
  • Hixson High School
  • Home Life Academy
  • Ooltewah High School
  • Ringgold High School
  • Soddy Daisy High School
  • STEM School of Chattanooga
  • Trine University

The program will welcome these first students to the BlueCross headquarters on Cameron Hill in August.

“We are excited for what the future holds for each of these students, and we are proud to be the educational partner for this innovative program that provides a solution to a critical workforce need,” said Dr. Brian Noland, president of ETSU. “The BlueSky Institute will expand opportunities and open doors, truly making a difference for people across the region and beyond.”

Learn more about the BlueSky Institute program at

About BlueCross®
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.3 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at

About East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, telephone 404-679-4500, or, for questions about the accreditation of East Tennessee State University. 



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