This summer, Workforce Solutions Capital Area 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. The program also brings industry to the classroom to support students developing in-demand academic and technical skills for today’s workforce.

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

  • A hybrid externship with both in-person and virtual options was coordinated this year by WFS for educators from Travis County-area school districts and employers.
  • This year’s program doubled the number of educators served the first year, thanks to relationships cultivated by WFS’ career and education outreach specialists.
Radiant Plumbing

2021 Teacher Externship Program, by the numbers:

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

How it works:

  • During the externship, the employer host provides a teacher or counselor with the invaluable 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 this software 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, which they can then use in the classroom.
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 develop 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 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.”

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

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