How one teacher externship could impact hundreds of students

Blog post by Whitney Harmel

Whitney Harmel is the Vice President of Membership at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Through her career history and past role as chair of the Emerging Leaders United Council, she has over a decade of sales, leadership, and relationship-building experience.

The Maryland Chamber Foundation is scaling our 2020 teacher extern program after a successful pilot program with three teachers in July 2019. We had an astounding 194 teachers from across the state of Maryland apply and are thrilled at the commitments from KCI Technologies, Stanley Black & Decker, Baltimore Gas & Electric, FirstEnergy, Leidos and McCormick & Company to sponsor and host 2020 teacher externs. While our 2019 pilot program targeted manufacturing companies, this year the program expanded into all industries and we’re excited to have a diverse group of STEAM & CTE teachers ready to be placed.

For more information, check out this video where I walked through the details of the teacher extern program in a conference call:

The idea of the teacher externship program is that teachers have often gone from studying in a classroom to teaching in a classroom without workplace experience. Additionally, across the country, states need a workforce that understands the ever-changing need of businesses and Maryland is no exception. Our teacher extern bridges this gap in the talent pipeline by building relationships between teachers and businesses, providing teachers with the hands-on experience our workforce is looking for. Following the four-week program, the teachers have an opportunity over the next school year to earn continuing professional development credits if they create, implement and get feedback on four new lesson plans based upon their experience as an extern.

Our teacher externship program was built off the best practices of six other state Chambers across the country that we customized for the unique needs of Maryland’s talent pipeline. Teacher externs are selected mindfully by businesses from the teacher’s communities, ensuring teachers and businesses are partnered in areas relevancy to local workforce needs. Businesses who sponsor and host a teacher extern gain continued exposure from our articles, marketing communications, and social media.

The generosity and passion of our 2019 business partners and teacher externs was off the charts. You can read about Stanley Black & Decker’s, Toroid’s and Volvo’s teacher externs, but this two-minute video from Chris Bunn about his experience at Stanley Black & Decker shows just how valuable this opportunity was for him and his students.

For more information on the teacher extern program or how your organization can get involved in sponsoring and hosting a 2020 teacher extern, please contact Whitney Harmel at wharmel@mdchamber.og or (410) 269-0642.


To view the Maryland Chamber Foundation’s webpage on the teacher externship program, click here.

For more articles on the teacher extern program click here.

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