Workforce needs? Invite a teacher

Teacher externship lead to increased student interest and involvement

Ever wondered how to get students interested in your industry?  How to get them interested in training and working in your field?  One answer is simple: invite a teacher to your facility or better yet, host a group of teachers at your facility.

The Summer Teacher Externship program brings teachers from the Alamo region into local industries so that they can gain “real world” practical experience and be able to convey that to students. The teachers receive Problem-Based Learning (PBL) instruction that they can use to leverage their experience from visiting local industries to bring industrial problems into their classroom, helping to answer the question “when am I ever going to use this?”  Having exposure to local industries increases their credibility with students when discussing the practical application of lessons and the associated career opportunities.  The program continues into the school year with virtual tours and interactions using live videoconferencing sessions that allow teachers and students to interact with industry members using tablets/laptops.  Students can ask direct questions and have live tours of facilities without the hassle and expense of going to the site, thus allowing for the students to get exposure to more sites and career opportunities.

This past summer, the program involved nearly 200 teachers, which equates to touching almost 25,000 students.  Nearly 40 local industries participated in the program, ranging from small companies with 10-20 employees, up to the large well known companies with thousands.  Industries include machining, robotics, medical, food, bookbinding, energy, utilities and engineering.  Through the program partners in the Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition (ASWC), the student experience progresses throughout the year to shadowing days and internship programs, where the students gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of future career opportunities.

How hard is it to get involved? Not at all. The ASWC Teacher Externship partners work with you to make arrangements for the site externship visit from scheduling the visit, to giving guidance on how to conduct an externship visit, to accompanying the teachers during the visit.  Each externship visit is half a day and you can opt to do one or multiple sessions.  Not only are the responses from the teachers rewarding, the employees become very engaged by being able to show/explain what they do and how it relates to teaching and career opportunities. Get involved in the active development of your future workforce needs by sponsoring a teacher or hosting teachers at your site.  Sponsorships start for as little as sponsoring a teacher for a day ($500, Influence Sponsor reaching 25 students), to a full week ($2,500, Engage Sponsor reaching 125 students), to a group of teachers ($25K Momentum Sponsor reaching 1,250 students). Site hosting starts with groups of teachers as small as 10.  To become a Sponsor or get further information, please contact ATEAMS at ateams.sa@gmail.com.

—Mark Neiderauer, COO, EO2 Concepts