There are roughly 40,000 Iowa businesses of five employees or more. Each one depends on education systems to prepare their future hires. What better way to assure applicants come to the door commanding the skills and knowledge needed than to partner with local teachers in shaping what gets taught and how?
One hundred-seventy-two Iowa workplaces have been doing just that by welcoming teachers of mathematics, science and technology onto construction sites, shop floors, warehouses, hospitals, nature preserves, tech suites, R & D labs, retail stores, farms, maintenance sheds, refineries, military installations, zoos, museums and myriad local businesses during summertime. Six weeks as “temporary workers” add value to company operations, while sending teachers back to school in the fall fully armed to link learning to real uses while trumpeting local careers.
"Teachers are some of the key influencers in students' lives as they prepare for their futures beyond the classroom," said Kemin R & D Director for Crop Technologies, Emily Fuerst. "Kemin wants to help bring awareness to all the STEM opportunities right here in Iowa, and we realized working with teachers directly could be a great way to do so." Kemin has hosted 28 externs since 2009.
A Hy-Vee executive commented that “[the Externs] bring a fresh set of eyes to our business and can offer solutions we may not have even considered. They in turn get real life experiences they can take back to the classroom with real life examples that kids can relate to.” A Pella Corporation supervisor found value in the partnership, “...our Extern did a lot of research and created an amazing database that we had wanted to do for several years but had not found the time. Not only did she do this, but she came up with graphs for figuring out some future costs that will help us immensely in marketing our services.”
With 172 workplaces engaged, just 39,828 to go. Get involved at https://www.iowastem.gov/externships
* Kemin R & D Director for Crop Technologies, Emily Fuerst