Press Release: CDLE Launches New Teacher Externship Program

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(DENVER) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced the launch of a new Teacher Externship Program today. Envisioned in the spirit of innovation, equity, and authentic collaboration, Colorado House Bill 23-1198 created a new, statewide K-12 Teacher Externship Program focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-focused (STEM) occupations.

“This visionary initiative is not just a program; it's a state-led commitment to bridge the gap between education and industry that will serve as a catalyst for diverse and inclusive workforce development efforts in high-growth, high-demand STEM fields,” said CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela. “With this new program, CDLE will be able to enhance its mission by providing employers access to professional educators who will engage directly in STEM workplaces. The hands-on experience will allow teachers to  then bring relevant, meaningful content back to their students, inspiring them to pursue STEM-focused careers.”

Externships are work-based learning, professional development opportunities that allow teachers to spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks working onsite at a business to gain exposure to work environments in career sectors that their students may pursue. Participating businesses will identify a specific project or problem as the externship focus, then select a highly skilled teacher to work in that area. These hands-on learning experiences help teachers enrich their classroom pedagogy. Teachers can integrate real-world applications into the academic content they deliver, thus teaching skills that meet current industry standards.

CDLE is working in close collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education to launch the state-level program, which will be the first of its kind in Colorado. Teachers will be able to earn credits toward professional development and licensure requirements and may also receive salary increases and/or graduate-level university credits toward advanced degrees by participating in externships.

CDLE is actively seeking participation from business partners dedicated to championing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplaces to participate as hosts to teachers. Those interested in participating are asked to fill out this interest form

Additionally, it will partner with schools, districts, and education networks committed to ensuring the inclusion of teachers of color, new Americans, and individuals from other historically underrepresented groups. Externship opportunities will be available across Colorado for teachers from all backgrounds by summer of 2024. This accessibility will ensure that as many students as possible can benefit from cutting-edge, relevant curriculum, motivating them to pursue careers in STEM fields. 

More information about the program and becoming a business host or participating in an externship can be found here.


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