Students Gain through Teacher Summer Workplace Experience

Nick Long, Industrial Technology Teacher at MMCRU Schools completed a summer STEM Teacher Externship at Wetherall Manufacturing.
Nick Long, Industrial Technology Teacher at MMCRU Schools, completed a summer STEM Teacher Externship at Wetherall Manufacturing where he worked on producing a new hydraulic cylinder on a CNC lathe.

This summer marked another record-setting year for the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program. A total of 82 teachers embarked on a hands-on, exploration of local careers in 69 workplaces spanning the state. A forum at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Ankeny Campus culminated the summer program for the teacher externs, workplace hosts and extern mentors and provided an opportunity to learn how others will be taking the experience back to their schools, businesses and communities.

Brad Goedken, Ankeny High School teacher, Iowa STEM Teacher Extern and former business and industry executive, served as the keynote speaker for the forum and emphasized the importance of bringing real workplace experience and context into classroom lessons. He said, “Our primary job is to prepare young people for the world they are going out into.”

During the forum, workplace hosts collaborated on building a better externship and school-workplace partnerships and teacher externs brainstormed about building their authentic learning toolbox and lesson development.

“The STEM Teacher Externships Program provides such a meaningful experience for educators and business partners,” said Ann Gritzner, Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program Coordinator for the STEM Council. “2023 marked the fifteenth summer for STEM Teacher Externships, with 859 educator placements since 2009. This program is reaching countless students through their teachers who are working through their summer to provide enriching education experiences.”

For more information about the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit or contact Ann Gritzner at

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