Working to connect the classroom to the workplace, Exploring Careers through Industry Teacher Externships (EXCITE) is a professional development program placing Southern Virginia educators in business and industry settings to connect the classroom to the workplace. IALR is excited to fund 30 educators for EXCITE in the summer of 2023, representing schools in 15 different school districts in GO Virginia Region 3.  

Educators accepted to the program participate in a one-week externship. 


Educators will visit one or two businesses per day for the first four days of the program. The fifth day will include a debrief meeting with the program coordinator and peer educators to discuss lessons learned and ideas for classroom implementation. 

Recap of the 2023 EXCITE Cohort


The purpose of EXCITE is to engage teachers and counselors with business and industry. Teachers improve their pedagogical practices by incorporating new methods, labor market information, and employment skills that meet current industry standards. The educational goal of EXCITE is to increase an educator’s ability to connect theory and practice and bring an understanding of workplace practices and policies (e.g., problem-solving methods, practical applications of theory, leadership concepts, etc.) into the classroom, thus increasing the relevance of student learning. For counselors, EXCITE should be beneficial to their work in assisting students with their career and academic planning. 


In short, educators who participate will receive:  

  • $800 stipend  
  • Workplace understanding and context to bring to the classroom  
  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities  

With first-hand exposure, teachers can design and implement classroom activities, projects and work-based learning opportunities that will add relevance and meaning to students’ classroom learning. Externships provide a fresh perspective that lets teachers tie curriculum to real-world applications. They gain an increased ability to explain the value of what students are learning. This often leads to activities in which students work in groups, engaging in cooperative learning and open-ended, real-life, problem-based assignments. 

School counselors can use the experience to affect student options as they consider career plans and academic requirements. Having first-hand knowledge of employer expectations and job opportunities can assist counselors as they work to support students with the development of their academic and career plans. 

Externships give employers other avenues of involvement with K12 school systems. Employers can inform educators about their expectations of employees in various positions and offer input to their curriculum, thereby contributing to the preparation of their future workforce. They can also become guest speakers and mentors, host field trips and job shadows, and/or offer internships for students. In-kind donations of time and expertise are immensely valuable and provide employers an opportunity to show their commitment to their community. 

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