Teacher Externship 2022
Teacher Externship Highlights Skills Necessary for Success through Employer/Education Partnerships
The second annual Workforce Solutions Deep East Texas Teacher Externship was held June 13-17, 2022, to highlight the skills necessary for success and the career opportunities across the 12 counties of Deep East Texas. Twenty-five businesses and 27 teachers from 11 Independent School Districts collaborated to better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce. The focus was on high demand occupations in Deep East Texas industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, professional and technical services, and information technology.
“Currently there is a shortage of workers, and a skills gap has been identified by our region’s employers,” said Mark Durand, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions Deep East Texas. “The Teacher Externship was developed based on employer feedback to better connect the qualifications of students entering the workforce with the expectations of the workplace.”
The 27 career and technical education teachers were matched with 25 businesses for a week of learning, observing and job-shadowing. The teachers gained industry strategies for the classroom to help them inform, educate, guide and connect students to high demand occupations that match their skill sets. The project is funded 100% with federal funds through a $58,112 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.
State Representative Trent Ashby said, “This is really a model that should be replicated across the state of Texas. This is a true win-win when you can bring educators and employers from the private sector into a week-long environment where they are collaborating, working together and sharing information. On the education side, for our teachers to be the best they can be in the classroom, they need to know what are the expectations of the employers in their communities. On the employer side, it’s very helpful for them to be able to provide that input to these educators about the type of skills needed in the workforce and to continue to align education with workforce.”
Rep. Ashby attended the debriefing session at the end of the week. He noted, “It’s very relevant to both parties that are involved. This is such an exciting program and I’m really delighted to see the legislature provide the funding to allow this type of collaboration and partnership to continue.”
Among the immediate positive outcomes from the experiences were: skill-specific lessons for the classroom, internships, job opportunities, mock interviews, employers speaking at schools, and student tours during the upcoming school year. Teachers also heard employers talk about the need for soft skills such as reliability, accountability, communication, empathy, attendance, professional behavior, listening, decision-making, productivity, and problem-solving. Soft skills, the key to workplace success, were also referred to as employability skills, work-readiness skills and job-readiness skills.
“As a result, the teachers have a better understanding of the high demand industries and the types of technical and soft skills needed for success in the Deep East Texas economy. The employers and local schools have strengthened their relationships,” said Mr. Durand. “On behalf of the local workforce development board, I want to express our appreciation to the employers who spent considerable time and resources to plan meaningful experiences for the teachers. We are equally grateful to the teachers who embraced the learning opportunity and devoted a week of their summer to the program.”
Participating Business Partners: Axley & Rode, Burns Forestry, Crockett Florist and Gifts, Crockett Medical Center, Crockett Veterinary Hospital, Etech, EverythingU, Lee Trans, Lincoln Lumber, Lockheed Martin, Louisiana Pacific Jasper OSB, Lufkin Gears, Marshall's Tax and Business, McWilliams & Son, MSGPR, NacSpace, Polk County Sheriff's Office, Sabine County Hospital, Spirit Outfitters, St. Luke's Health Memorial, STI Group, Third Day Farm and Ranch, Timberidge Nursing and Rehab, Vulcraft Texas, and Woodland Heights Medical Center
Participating School Districts and Teachers: Corrigan-Camden ISD – Tammy Farr, Phyllis Ortiz, Rayford Sweats; Crockett ISD – Chris Wilder, Rhett Wilson; Diboll ISD – Melinda Brasuell, Melissa Kaemmerling, Brenda Palomino, Clint Walker; Grapeland ISD – Shellee Goolsby; Huntington ISD – Michael Lantz; Jasper ISD – Allen Hadnot, Jimell Powell, Rachel Vickers; Latexo ISD – Tessa Easley, Larry Langford, Heather Mooneyham, Krystal Patterson; Lufkin ISD – Jennifer Free, Sonja Stephens; Nacogdoches ISD – Mary Sharp, Travis Squyres; Newton ISD – Andy Kibodeaux, Daniel Odom, Susie Osment, Sarah Trammell; and West Sabine ISD – Tommy Jenkins