This summer, Workforce Solutions Capital Area (WFS) partnered with local school districts and employers from various industries for the 2nd annual Teacher Externship Program.

Why it matters: WFS’ Teacher Externship Program strengthens relationships with local school districts to connect with the next generation of skilled talent.

  • We connect industry to the classroom, supporting students in developing in-demand academic and technical skills for today’s workforce.

How it started: In 2019, WFS served 50 Austin ISD educators in an in-person capacity.

  • In 2021, WFS coordinated a hybrid externship with in-person and virtual options for educators and employers in the Travis County area.
  • This year’s program doubled the number of educators served the first year, thanks to relationships cultivated by WFS’ career and education outreach specialists.

2021 Teacher Externship Program, by the numbers:

  • 99 teachers and counselors got connected with three-day externships.
    • Districts represented include Austin, Del Valle, Eanes, Elgin, Manor, and Pflugerville. Schools represented include Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, KIPP Austin, and Cedars International Academy Schools.
    • Several educators from Goodwill’s Excel Center also participated.
  • 27 employers hosted teachers. Employers include those represented on WFS’ board, such as Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Ascension Seton, St. David’s, Athena Manufacturing, multiple departments with the City of Austin, and more.
Courtesy: Austin Infiniti

How it works:

  • During the externship, the employer host provides a teacher or counselor with the opportunity to observe and speak to employees and management about the skills, certifications, and career pathways within the employer host’s organization.
    • Through a partnership with Nepris, WFS purchased licenses for career exploration software for teachers who do not have access to it through their ISDs. 
    • WFS also leveraged Texas Workforce Commission funding to provide $500 stipends to each educator who participated.
  • After completing their externships, the teachers must create lesson plans based on their experiences for use in the classroom.
Courtesy: PSI Urethanes

What they’re saying:

  • Lois Tiller, learning operations supervisor for technical training at Samsung Austin Semiconductor: “The interaction between employers and teachers is very beneficial in the development of programs that advance the future workforce.”
  • Mark Bailey, fixed operations director at Austin Infiniti: “This program is a win-win for all involved.”
  • Aimee Finney, a teacher with AISD: “This was amazing. I had no clue how energy worked, but being paired up with Austin Energy, I was able to learn about the importance of serving the community and how working for the city creates a diverse collection of workers to better serve everyone.”
  • Tamara Bell, a teacher with Del Valle ISD hosted by EA (Electronic Arts): “I loved the diversity of all of [EA’s] employees and loved that not everyone had a technology background. 
    • “Another impressive aspect of the externship was how EA has integrated Inclusion and Diversity throughout their organization with advocacy groups. This initiative not only creates awareness of other cultures but also helps under-represented population employees gain the skills they need to rise up the corporate ladder.”
Courtesy: Electronic Arts

What’s next: WFS is already recruiting for the summer of 2022! Employers can sign up and learn more here.

Thank you to our 2021 Teacher Externship employer partners:

  • Ascension Seton
  • Austin Community College
  • American Constructors
  • Austin Public Health – Environmental Department
  • Applied Materials
  • Athena Manufacturing
  • Austin Infiniti
  • Austin Supported Living Center
  • Baylor Scott and White
  • City of Austin – Austin Public Health and Austin Energy Departments
  • Cypress Industries
  • Electronic Arts (EA)
  • Essensium, in partnership with Pflugerville Community Development Center
  • Formaspace
  • Outreach Health Services
  • PSI Urethane
  • Radiant Plumbing
  • Rosendin Electric
  • Samsung Austin Manufacturing
  • Senox Corporation
  • St. David’s
  • TCS Mechanical in partnership with Local 286
  • Travis Country Sherrif’s Office (TSCO)
  • TECO Westinghouse
  • Texas Film Commission
  • University of Texas – Professor Dr. Beckham
  • Young and Pratt in partnership with Local 286
  • Zynga
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