Let the match-making begin: Iowa STEM Teacher Externships

Iowa STEM Teacher Externships match-meeting at Lennox Industries
Lennox Industries queues up a Teacher Externship for Rob Weatherly, Marshalltown High School (left), working with Senior Manager Dane Wills (2nd from left) and Engineer Chuck (right).

“Nobody knows what we do,” said an Ames manufacturer of hydrostatic transmissions, “despite the fact that we ship product around the world.”

That is one of the reasons he gave for participating as a Workplace Host in the STEM Council’s Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program – to enlighten teachers, parents and especially students of the awesome jobs available right in their community. And, it doesn’t hurt a bit that some basic industrial engineering work is going to get done by an able and ready teacher who will then translate it back to the classroom.

Across Iowa this summer, teachers of STEM subjects are fanning out to streamline production at John Deere, to measure water quality at state parks, to test Pella windows for hail resistance, to develop algorithms for payroll processing at the Weitz Company and many more. This year’s business partners, in addition to those above, include American Profol, Climax Molybdenum, Geater Manufacturing, HNI Corp., Kemin Industries, MA Ford, Next Generation Technologies, Renewable Energy Group, Rockwell Collins, Rosenboom Machining, Monsanto, Siemens, Trinity Logistics and others just signing on. Together they contribute more than $80,000 in cost sharing in support of their Teacher Externs.

This year, a generous grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources supports Teacher Externs as naturalists in state parks and preserves across the state. Other host agencies include the Blank Park Zoo, the State Hygienic Laboratory, Des Moines Public Works, Johnson County Conservation, Mississippi River Museum, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Polk County Conservation and others still on-boarding.  Getting some work done while improving Iowa education is the goal embraced by these great partners and a worthy endeavor for every Iowa employer.

For more information about the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/externships.