The Fremont Externship Program: The Value of Uniting Education and Industry

The Fremont Externship Program: The Value of Uniting Education and Industry Main Photo

29 Aug 2023


Teacher externships have emerged as a unique and transformative professional development opportunity, forging a connection between the classroom and the workplace. These programs enable educators to step out of their traditional roles and into the real-world environments of various industries, enriching their teaching practices and enhancing student learning by bringing relevant and up-to-date insights into their subjects. The Fremont Externship Program, which took its inaugural stride in May 2023, is a testament to the power of collaboration between the Greater Fremont Development Council (GFDC), Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, and Fremont Senior High School. With the united vision of enriching education and fostering closer ties between classrooms and local businesses, this program has achieved remarkable milestones.

The Fremont Externship Program: Making a positive impact

Four esteemed faculty members from Fremont Senior High School were selected for the Program, with each faculty specializing in an area critical to student development: Guidance Counseling, Journalism, English Language Learning / World Language, and Art. These teachers became catalysts for change, bridging the gap between theoretical learning and practical application. Their engagement was mirrored by the commitment of four local businesses, including Christensen Lumber, Methodist Fremont Health, DPA Auctions, and RTG Medical. These partners opened their doors to educators, inviting them to delve into their workspaces for at least 20 hours as an invaluable investment.

The immersive nature of the program became evident as some educators, driven by their curiosity, dedicated their entire summer to shadowing their host businesses. The externship experience thus extended beyond brief visits, transforming into an ongoing exploration of industry intricacies. As the program wrapped up in August 2023, the educators documented their eye-opening experiences. Their intention to integrate these insights into their curriculum bodes well for students, who stand to gain from the infusion of real-world wisdom into their learning journeys.

Already, the impact of the Fremont Externship Program is being felt. Several educators have passionately shared their experiences through presentations, while others have taken the remarkable step of inviting their host businesses into their classrooms. 

Benefits for Educators and Students

The benefits of teacher externships are two-fold. Educators gain a real-world perspective on industry practices, tools, and trends, which they can seamlessly integrate into their teaching methods. This approach not only enhances the quality of education but also gives students a tangible link between classroom learning and future career opportunities.

For students, the impact is profound. Externs participating in these programs return to their classrooms with insights that transcend textbooks. They craft engaging lessons that reflect real-world scenarios, fostering a more dynamic and relatable learning experience. The connections between educators and local businesses also pave the way for guest speakers, interactive sessions, and mentorship opportunities, further enriching the learning journey.

Externship Program Structure

The Fremont Externship Program follows a well-structured model, ensuring educators and industry partners derive maximum benefit. Externs must spend a minimum of 20 hours at their host sites, offering them ample time to understand the industry's intricacies. Throughout their externship, they maintain daily journal reflections, develop plans for curriculum integration, and consistently evaluate their experience.

Suggested activities encompass diverse facets of the industry, from touring facilities and attending meetings to conducting informational interviews and even taking on job roles under supervision. This comprehensive approach gives educators a holistic view of the industry, allowing them to develop a curriculum that resonates with the real world.

Looking Forward: A Collaborative Future

The success of the Fremont Externship Program highlights the potential for sustained collaboration between educators and industry partners. As educators update their knowledge and skills to match evolving workplace demands, programs like these will become an integral part of professional development. The impact extends beyond classrooms, transcending into a cultural shift that prepares students for graduation and a future ripe with opportunities.

With the positive feedback received and growing interest from businesses, the Fremont Greater Development Council (GFDC) is poised to continue and expand the externship program in 2024. Through these initiatives, educators foster better learning outcomes and nurture a workforce equipped to navigate an ever-changing world.