Columbia, S.C. — BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, IBM and the University of South Carolina (USC) announced the creation of the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management, a collaboration intended to build IT opportunities for the future.

The consortium aims to merge business, academia and economic development to grow IT talent, nurture management expertise and cultivate business and organizational relationships.

BlueCross chairman and CEO M. Edward Sellers, says the collaboration will help drive economic development in the state and nation. "What's happening in Columbia, S.C., is the kind of IT growth that the IT industry desperately needs," he says. "By merging business, academia and economic development, this new consortium will engender a sort of 'IT greenhouse' that is needed in the Palmetto State, and across the nation."

The consortium will address growing IT hiring challenges, such as attracting students to consider technology careers in insurance, banking, retail, airlines, petroleum and other industries dependent on high volume transaction processing. It also will dedicate efforts to directing students to companies that are hiring IT professionals.

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides says education is the first step in developing the IT workforce. "The university will work with teachers in our state's middle schools and high schools to ensure that their students have the education and skills needed for IT careers," Pastides says. "This consortium will be a great economic boon for our state as we develop opportunities for businesses and industries with our state and seek to attract those from outside South Carolina.”

According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, five of the nine fastest-growing occupations in the United States require a college degree in computer science or engineering.

The consortium will be housed on 14,120 square feet of two floors at Horizon II in the University of South Carolina's Innovista research campus in Columbia, S.C. "Innovista is a catalyst for the Palmetto State's future, and this consortium will have a vital role in developing the people who will be our information technology leaders," Pastides says.

BlueCross' Sellers says each of the founding partners brings its own strengths to the consortium. With financial support from BlueCross and other members, the new consortium has a board consisting of six seats currently occupied by representatives from BlueCross, IBM and USC. The board will hire an executive director and a marketing manager. As the consortium grows, board membership will increase to include other organizations.

Charter members BlueCross, IBM and USC have begun soliciting organizations that use IT to join the new group. The model for participation from other companies and universities is based on seeking a high volume of participants at a low financial entry fee. Interested organizations may call 877.214.3513 for more information.

Source: PR Newswire

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