Columbia, S.C. – The U.S. Department of Labor has registered information technology apprenticeship programs organized by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina with Apprenticeship Carolina™, a division of the S.C. Technical College System.
In partnership with Midlands Technical College and Alpha Training Services in Columbia, S.C., the BlueCross information systems department offers four-year apprenticeship programs, involving classroom training and on-the-job mentoring, for some of its employees in the fields of programmer analyst, Web systems support programmer and network support technician. The first of these programs began in 1996, with more added over the years. The U.S. Department of Labor recently registered the programs.
The Office of Apprenticeship of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) registers apprenticeship programs and apprentices in all 50 states. The Department of Labor describes registered apprenticeship as “showing an employer’s visible commitment to developing a high-quality workforce that meets nationally recognized training standards. Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by joint employer and labor groups, individual employers, and/or employer associations.”
To qualify, applicants must have an associate’s degree and some work experience. To succeed, the apprenticed employees must complete between 400-800 hours of education and more than three years of on-the-job-training. To date, 122 BlueCross information systems’ employees have enrolled, with 10 on target to complete their apprenticeships this year.
“Apprenticeship programs are a great way for us to develop our own experts, who become knowledgeable in our company’s needs in information technology. We are proud to have this federal endorsement,” said Jack Canter, vice president and senior development officer of systems and programming at BlueCross.
“The effectiveness of apprenticeship as a career development tool is becoming quite clear in South Carolina as Apprenticeship Carolina™ continues to average one federally registered program per week,” said Ann Marie Stieritz, director of Apprenticeship Carolina™. “BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina’s registration of its programs for information technology occupations shows its commitment to growing a skilled workforce. Apprenticeship Carolina™, as well as the technical colleges of South Carolina, are committed to this same goal.”
Apprenticeship Carolina™ is a new division of the South Carolina Technical College System that works to ensure all employers in South Carolina have access to the information and technical assistance they need to create demand-driven registered apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship consultants are available to guide companies through the registered apprenticeship development process from initial information to full recognition in the National Registered Apprenticeship System. These services are available to South Carolina employers free of charge. Interested employers are encouraged to contact Apprenticeship Carolina™ at (803) 896-5287 or visit www.apprenticeshipcarolina.com.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross is the largest private company employer of IT professionals in the state. The company’s more than 2,200 information technology employees develop, execute and monitor more than 800 million health care claims and 8 billion online transactions a year for its private health insurance, federal government contracts and other insurance divisions.
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its family of companies include more than 20 subsidiaries involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.