Iowa's educators have considerable influence in equipping tomorrow's workforce with
skills that connect classroom concepts to authentic career experience. To help STEM teachers gain insights on skills and knowledge valued at work, the STEM Council offers a rigorous summer workplace experience. Through the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, teachers are matched with a local workplaces for six weeks to assist with projects and needs in the teacher’s subject-area of expertise.
A recent program webinar for Iowa workplaces highlighted employer experiences with summer STEM Teacher Externs. The panel included Andrew Roelfs, Interstates Training and Development Manager; Christina Schauer, MercyOne-Dubuque Director of Clinical and Professional Development; and Grace Swanson, Accumold Vice President of Human Capital. They shared why their organization got involved in the program, what it was like having a teacher onsite, the value of hosting a teacher and recommendations to other Iowa businesses for hosting a teacher extern in the future.
“Within Interstates, we hire a lot of folks with a STEM background. We realized that we need to play both the short-term game – how do we continue to fill our funnel, but as important, or even more important, how do we continue to get more people interested in those types of careers long-term,” said Roelfs. “[STEM Teacher Externships] ties the curriculum to the qualifications we are looking for.”
The STEM Council’s Teacher Externships Program has placed more than 700 Teacher Externs with more than 200 Iowa workplaces, building long-lasting partnerships. These experiences support the local workforce by providing teachers with experiences directly linking work skills to classroom content and 21st Century Skills.
For more information on the STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit www.iowastem.org/externships.