K-12 Teacher Externships for STEM Occupations
About the Program
Envisioned in the spirit of innovation, equity, and authentic collaboration, Colorado House Bill 23-1198 is the cornerstone for a new statewide K-12 Teacher Externship Program focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-focused (STEM) occupations. This visionary initiative, driven by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), is a state-led commitment to bridge the gap between education and industry and will be a catalyst for diverse and inclusive workforce development efforts in high-growth, high-demand STEM fields.
This program is in a start-up phase; CDLE expects the first externships to start by June 2024. Between now and then, planning activities are underway, including identifying STEM-based business partners, collecting interest from teachers, school leaders, networks, and districts, and defining the scope of opportunities that will be available.
What is an Externship?
Externships are work-based learning opportunities that allow teachers to spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks working onsite at a Colorado business to gain exposure to work environments in career sectors that their students may pursue. These experiences provide teachers with a deeper understanding of industry practices, empowering them to deliver more relevant content to students to better prepare them for the workforce.
CDLE's program connects K-12 teachers with STEM-focused employers offering hands-on, immersive learning opportunities. Businesses identify a specific project or problem as the externship focus, then select a highly skilled teacher(s) to work in that area. The program is available to any Colorado-based STEM-focused business and all Colorado K-12 public school teachers.