In 2016, AGC’s Workforce Coalition and Willamette Education Service District (WESD) started developing ideas to address unfilled positions in the construction industry’s high wage, high demand fields. From this brainstorming, the Educator Externship was born. The externship was designed on the model of the Discovery Project, which included:
- Infusing relevant workplace skills
- Developing partnerships between industry and education
- Helping students to make connections between academic and technical information
- Increasing career-related learning
Data shows that in 2015, 87% of Oregon students who take career technical education (CTE) classes will graduate from high school, compared to the state average of 74%. AGC and WESD developed the externship with the purpose of connecting educators with business and industry partners, providing real-world experiences for the educators to modify and take back to their classrooms and career centers, with the hope that more students are exposed to the career possibilities in the construction industry.
The first externship program in 2016 had only ten participants, and in only two years the program has grown to include nearly 80 educators statewide. The eight-day program in July includes safety training, tours of apprenticeship programs, office visits to see the human resources and project management side of the industry, community college and university visits, and local shadow and explore (LSE) opportunities. Educators develop lesson plans incorporating the skills that industry wants, and bringing relevance to the classroom, bringing the “world of work” to school coursework.
AGC members who are interested in participating on a large or small scale should contact Frosti Adams for more information.