Workplace Hosts Needed for Expanding Externships Program

Bob Grant, a mathematics teacher at Storm Lake High School, completed a STEM Teacher Externship in 2019
Bob Grant, a mathematics teacher at Storm Lake High School, completed a STEM Teacher Externship in 2019 at Merrill Manufacturing in Storm Lake. He helped complete a statistical analysis of data for the time required to assemble a hydrant in order to provi

Planning for the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program is gearing up for Summer 2020. Each summer, educators are matched with business hosts where they learn about career opportunities that use the skills students are learning in the classroom while addressing needs of local workplaces.

Since 2009, nearly 200 Workplace Hosts have had the opportunity to work with nearly 600 of Iowa’s most talented STEM educators. By opening the door to a STEM Teacher Extern, Hosts help build a partnership that will enhance the workplace and the community’s future workforce. 

To ensure the best outcomes for both Workplace Hosts and Teacher Externs, here are a few tips for preparing to host a STEM Teacher Extern: 

  • Identify team members. A team will be helping the teacher complete projects and solve problems. Letting your team members know that a teacher will be joining the team in the summer is important to an overall successful experience. Teachers and hosts often find the most benefit from the experience when teachers are viewed as a contributing team member from day one.
  • Identify team member roles. Identify a point person at the work site, as well as the person who will most likely be working with the teacher on a daily basis. It is also important to identify secondary team members who the Extern can turn to for smaller projects in order to build a complete picture of how the organization works.
  • Identify projects and/or needs. It can be difficult to know the projects or needs in advance of summer. Longstanding “to do” lists that have been shelved are often the seeds that grow other opportunities during the summer. Multiple projects, varying in breadth, depth and time should be considered in order to accommodate for variable circumstances and to ensure maximum productivity for the teacher.
  • Consider Cost-Share Contribution. All hosts are asked to cost-share at least half of the total per teacher costs via a tax-deductible donation of $3,000. If this is not feasible for your organization, discuss other options with the STEM Teacher Externship Program coordinators.

An informative program brochure is available at for any workplaces interested in offering a valuable experience for educators in the summer. To express interest and for more information, please complete a Workplace Host Interest Form at  or connect with the program coordinators at

To Top